Tuesday, 11 January 2011 11:30
Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Sheng Proposing New Fat City Board
Written by  Walt Bennetti, Publisher of ClickJefferson.com

At Wednesday’s Jefferson Parish Council meeting, Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng will continue her efforts to remake Fat City by proposing a new Fat City Advisory Board and denying the renewal of several Alcohol Beverage Permits for Fat City Businesses and other alcohol beverage establishments in her District.

The Councilwoman, along with Sheriff Newell Normand, has waged a battle with current Fat City Business and Land Owners in an attempt to radically reshape Fat City. The Councilwoman and Sheriff have maintained that crime emanating from alcohol beverage establishments is the primary reason that the Fat City area has fallen into decay. This despite crime statistics that do not support their claims that reducing the hours that alcohol is served will result in reduced crime.

 

In conversations leading up to the Council’s approval of Councilwoman Sheng’s Fat City rezoning ordinance, the Councilwoman said that there had been enough studies, commissions and boards and that now it was time for action, an opinion echoed by many on the Fat City Task Force.

Obviously, in proposing a new Fat City Advisory Board, Councilwoman Sheng has changed her mind.

In addition, the Advisory Board will “Facilitate the establishment of a neighborhood association with business owner and resident participation” despite the fact that there is an existing Fat City Business Association already in existence. The Advisory Board will also provide recommendations for a new “parking management entity” in Fat City.

The membership of the Fat City Advisory Board will be composed as follows:

(a) A representative of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, who is also a resident or the representative of a business located in Fat City, to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5 from nominations made by the Association;

(b) A resident of Fat City, to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5;

(c) A representative of the Apartment Association of Greater New Orleans, Inc., who is also resident or the representative of a business located in Fat City, to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5 from nominations made by the Association;

(d) A member of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5 from nominations made by the Chamber;

(e) A representative from a business located in Fat City to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5;

(f) A representative from a business located in Fat City that holds an Alcohol Beverage Outlet (ABO) license, to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5 from nominations made by the Beer Industry League of Louisiana;

(g) A licensed engineer or an architect to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5;

(h) A representative of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5;

(i) A representative of a Fat City condominium association, to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5;

(j) A representative of JEDCO to be appointed by the councilmember representing Council District 5;

(k) The designee of Jefferson Parish Council-at-Large Division “A”, who is a resident or the representative of a business located in Fat City; and

(l) The designee of Jefferson Parish Council-at Large Division “B”, who is a resident or the representative of a business located in Fat City.

The Jefferson Chamber, JEDCO and the Apartment Association of Greater New Orleans sided with Councilwoman Sheng and were proponents of the rezoning ordinance in spite of the number of job losses and business closings that will occur if the ordinance is allowed to be implemented and the fact that apartments were excluded from any regulations in the ordinance.

The rezoning ordinance calls for a massive array of restrictions and regulations to be imposed exclusively on Fat City Business Owners. The regulations include 24-hour video surveillance; an anti-loitering mandate; new height requirements; and a restriction on the hours that alcohol can be served in Fat City.

Many Fat City Business Owners have complained that the new regulations will drive up their cost of doing business in Fat City and effectively force them to close or relocate. Several lawsuits are pending regarding the ordinance, which is scheduled to take effect on March 31st.

Separately, Councilwoman Sheng is taking steps to deny the renewal of or suspend the alcohol beverage licenses for 10 businesses in her Council District, including every convenience store in Fat City.

Facing alcohol beverage suspensions are: Airline TimeSaver, 4501 Airline Drive; West Metairie Shell, 900 Clearview Parkway; Division QuickStop, 3654 18th Street; and Transcontinental Shell, 4941 Vets.

Councilwoman Sheng is proposing to deny the renewal of alcohol beverage licenses for: Celestial Bodies, 2303 N Causeway; Severn Exxon, 3501 Airline Drive; Brothers, 3218 Edenborn; Fat City Discount, 3651 18th Street; Ideal Market, 3805 Hessmer; and the already closed Circle K, 3559 18th Street.

The Jefferson Parish Council will meet Wednesday at 10am at the Yenni Building in Elmwood.

by Walt Bennetti of ClickJefferson.com

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