Castellon

No Expansion for Castellon Pharmacy


There is a fierce zoning battle going on that began six years ago on an Uptown New Orleans street corner. A neighborhood pharmacy wants to expand its building footprint to 15,850 square feet and put a parking lot across two adjacent lots. The problem is that the Zoning Laws and the pharmacy’s request are not compatible. This is the THIRD time the owner, Victor Castellon, has attempted to skirt the zoning laws to achieve his own ends. And it’s the THIRD time the neighborhood has said NO WAY!!!!!!!!FACTS:
– Castellon pharmacy and the surrounding lots in question are all located in the Carrollton National Historic District.
– The present pharmacy is 8,702 square feet and would be expanded to 15,850 square feet. Parking would increase from 22 spaces to 57 spaces.
– The current site of Castellon pharmacy is zoned C-1A General Commercial. This classification limits the size of commercial buildings to 10,000 square feet unless a Conditional Use permit is granted by the City.
– The adjacent lots are zoned RD-2, two-Family Residential, NOT commercial.
– The expanded pharmacy would have three entry/exit points. The existing entry point on Oak Street will remain and two new entries would be made, one on Dante Street and the other on Zimple Street. Both of these streets are solely residential, lined with one and two story shotguns built in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Click here to see the proposed plan!!!! (scan in plan)

RELEVANT LAWS:
– The Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of 1970 (CZO) classifies the Oak Street corridor as C-1, General Commercial, and imposes a footprint size limit of 10,000 square feet. It also designates the surrounding neighborhoods as RD-2 zones, zones for residential two-family dwellings.
– Section 15.2 of the CZO mandates that retail stores located in high density districts such as this provide one parking space per 300 square feet of ground floor area and one space per 600 square feet of upper floor area.

ZONING CONCERNS:
– Making the proposed changes will require a Conditional Use permit to increase the building size since it is otherwise in violation of zoning laws.
– Making the changes will also require a Conditional Use permit to allow a parking lot to cover residentially zoned lots.
– Making the changes will require a waiver since Section 15.2 of the CZO only allows for 45 parking spaces NOT the requested 57.

NEIGHBORHOOD CONCERNS:
– Such an expansion will produce heavy traffic flow that the residential area is not suited to handle.
– The inhospitable parking lot and oversized store will devalue surrounding property.
– The whole expansion plan is OUT Of CONTEXT with the surrounding environment and neighborhood.

SMART GROWTH’S POSITION:

NO EXPANSION OF ANY KIND
– The neighborhood has united and said “NO WAY” to this proposed expansion.
o We believe that neighborhoods like this one are crucial to maintaining the distinct character and quality of life in these historic districts. It should have a very influential say in what becomes of the neighborhood. Therefore, its opposition should be a determining factor!
– Both the CZO and the New Orleans Land Use Plan of 1999 zoned this area C-1A and RD-2 FOR A REASON.
o The zoning laws are designed to ensure healthy development and also to protect neighborhoods and small businesses from this kind of “creeping commercialism”. It is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for such laws to be respected, obeyed and applied consistently and justly.
o Allowing one Conditional Use simply opens the door to dozens and dozens of future exceptions. The Zoning laws then become worthless and the City is then at the whim of innumerable faceless developers.

Don’t let them get away with it!!!!! Help preserve neighborhoods while there are still neighborhoods to preserve.

To contact the New Orleans City Council or the City Planning Commission about this issue, click here!