Plan for redevelopment

Well, they released the plan for redevelopment today and I have mixed feelings about the whole thing.

Key Points of Plan, from

• Areas with little or no flooding should remain open for immediate redevelopment, but flooded neighborhoods would need to demonstrate viability before redevelopment.

• Give city’s 13 planning districts until May 20 to create development plans and prove that at least half of residents in a neighborhood are returning. Areas not meeting standards would be candidates for buyouts or redevelopment as parks or industrial zones.

• Impose a moratorium on building permits in flooded areas until redevelopment plans are approved.

• Request that FEMA release new flood maps within 30 days to help citizens decide about their homes.

• Seek buyouts that would pay home owners who are forced to sell 100 percent of the property’s pre-Katrina value, minus mortgage and insurance proceeds. The funds could come through a bill by U.S. Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge, which proposes to pay at least 60 percent of a homeowner’s equity, or from other sources. The Baker bill is set to be reconsidered in Congress soon.

• Create an independent agency, the Crescent City Recovery Corp., to manage redevelopment. Take away from the City Council the ability to reverse decisions by the city Planning Commission and let appeals be handled by the court. Both moves would need voters to amend the city charter.

• Build a light-rail transit system to spur development.

• Build a park in each neighborhood, and interconnect them with bike paths, canals covered by grassy areas and other amenities.

Being a renter and not a homeowner I’m not as outraged by the four month waiting period as my home owning friends are, although I totally understand their sentiments. While I see the point in not wanting to give money to people to redevelop in areas that are not viable, arn’t they forgetting that these areas were the most flooded only in this circumstance? What if other areas of the levees had failed? What if the next storm comes up the mouth of the river and the whole city is under under 20 feet of water? Almost none of New Orleans is really that viable. Plus, how can people decide to move back if they’re in effect, not letting them? If I was teetering on the desision and was told that 1) I couldn’t do so for possibly four months and 2) I might not be able to, even if I wanted to not to mention 3) My life would be in limbo until I find out one way or another, I don’t know if I’d stick around to find out… I’d have a new job in a new city by then, and building a new life. This is a hard situation.

I do love the idea of a light rail system, especially if it links Baton Rouge to New Orleans to Biloxi like I heard. I just hope the city doesn’t F it up.