Stop the Sprawlmart
|“When was the last time the City allowed YOU to ignore zoning laws, helped you solve your parking problems and considered fixing your property tax rate at a negotiated rate for twenty years so you could unfairly compete with other businesses?”
Preservation Resource Center Flyer
The developer Historic Restoration, Inc., is proposing the construction a 200,000 sq. ft. Wal-Mart Superstore, with surface parking for 825 cars, on two-lane Tchoupitoulas Street in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans– a National Register historic district. The Wal-Mart development is an integral part of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsored Hope VI project – the intent of which is to build a mixed income, pedestrian-scaled community on land once occupied by the St. Thomas housing project.
History of the Controversy
The resistance to this project has been strong and constant from the get go. Neighbors and concerned citizens have attended City Council meetings to protest the project and voice their concerns to no avail. The City and the developer have turned a deaf ear to the cries of the growing opposition. This is where Smart Growth became involved.
After presenting testimony to the New Orleans City Planning Commission and to the New Orleans City Council, after witnessing the City Council adopt an ordinance supporting the Wal-Mart project, and after meeting with Ray Nagin, the recently elected Mayor of New Orleans, Smart Growth for Louisiana, along with the Coliseum Square Association, the Louisiana Landmarks Society, Historic Magazine Row Association, and the Urban Conservancy filed suit in Federal and State court charging that HUD, the Housing Authority of New Orleans, and the City of New Orleans failed to adhere to laws and regulations governing the planning of the controversial project. Smart Growth and the other nonprofit organizations are relying on the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Home Rule Charter of the City of New Orleans, and the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the city of New Orleans to prove their cases. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see…….
Smart Growth’s Position
Smart Growth is a strong supporter of affordable housing, and endorses the Hope VI concept, but firmly believes that big-box stores larger than five football fields should not be part of a proposal to create a walkable, reasonably dense urban community.
Moreover, we believe that a big-box store of this size, the number of parking spaces associated with the development, and the amount of traffic a project of this magnitude will generate, will irreparably harm a National Landmark District, as well as the other National Register districts that surround the project. Sprawl development in the inner city should be opposed a vigorously as it is now being challenged in the suburbs.
There Are Alternatives
Wal-Mart is constructing “Neighborhood Markets” of between 38,000 and 50,000 square feet in four states. Why can’t the Arkansas retail chain build a store of this size in the Lower Garden District — a store that would compliment the Hope VI development as well as the surrounding historic districts?
Moreover, why must only one retail unit use all 200,000 square feet? Why can we not recruit a variety of smaller businesses to come into the area? Doing this would create more opportunity for smaller businesses and make for a more diverse shopping experience.
For More Information
This project, if done the way it has been proposed, can and will have substantial negative effects on the surrounding neighborhoods. Click the links below to find out more…
Page 2 – See the facts that the developers and the city DON’T want you to know………….This isn’t such a sweet deal for New Orleans!!!!