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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Press release: Tulane sues city

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Tulane University has announced that it filed suit against the city of New Orleans today, in an attempt to block a proposed Interim Zoning District that could slow progress on the university's plan to build a stadium.

The news comes one day after Tulane and the city announced an agreement to hold a series of community forums on the stadium.

Here's the press release. We will post a copy of the complaint as soon as one of two things happens: (1) it arrives, as requested, via email or (2) it is heroically obtained in person at Civil District Court, all despite the harrowing weather. See below for the complaint.

Today Tulane University filed suit in Civil District Court against the City of New Orleans. The suit seeks to prevent the creation of the proposed Interim Zoning District (IZD), which the New Orleans City Council approved in a 4-2 vote at its May 3 meeting.

Tulane filed suit to preserve its rights and the rights of other affected universities to challenge the IZD, which could put its new stadium and other large-scale projects in jeopardy, even though the projects are in compliance with current zoning laws.

"The May 3 motion could be treated as a final decision under the city’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, triggering the 15-day appeal period provided by the CZO. Tulane wanted to take no chances that it would be prevented from appealing the City Council’s motion to establish an IZD," said John Landis, of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann L.L.C, the law firm representing Tulane.

The university’s petition seeks both a declaratory judgment that the IZD motion adopted by the City Council is illegal and invalid, and a permanent injunction against enforcement of the IZD.

As announced yesterday, the university will continue and broaden its ongoing efforts to find common ground with neighbors by holding a series of three community forums. Endorsed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the forums will provide an opportunity for participants to comment about the university’s new on-campus stadium.

“Each forum will cover different subjects, from usage to parking to design and game day operations, all the topics that people are interested in,” says Yvette Jones, executive vice president for University Relations and Development. “I know that we will hear some excellent feedback and that will help us address, and hopefully resolve any areas of concern.”

The forums, which will be moderated by a planning consultant chosen with input from the Mayor’s Office and neighborhood representatives will be held June 6, June 18 and July 11 on Tulane University’s uptown campus.

Tulane's complaint — which, I'll readily admit, it's taken me the better part of an hour to not grasp — is available for download here: TulaneComplaint.pdf

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