Mar 292017

Via Robert Becker with Digital Frontier.

A bicycle-friendly beer and wine garden is one step closer to landing on the Lafitte Greenway – with plenty of bike parking, of course.

Plans for a proposed bar near the Toulouse Street end of the Lafitte Greenway were approved by the City Planning Commission at their regular meeting Tuesday. The bar is being developed by three business partners who have other developments – including bars – throughout the city.

The bar – located at 501 N. Genois St. – is bounded by N. Clark, St. Louis and Toulouse streets. The land is owned by Sidney Torres but is being leased to local developers, said Billy Good, of Maloney Good Realty.

“We have direct access from the Greenway that walks right into the patio space,” Good told the CPC on Tuesday. “We’re trying to promote a walkable place.

The site is currently zoned as MU-1 Medium Intensity Mixed-Use district and the Greenway Corridor Design Overlay, so the bar would not need to be rezoned. There was no opposition to the bar at the CPC meeting – either from the public or committee – and the plan was passes unanimously. The plans now head to City Council for approval.

The bar would have “adequate” vehicle parking and about 60 bicycle parking spots, plus a permeable outdoor patio – though live music is not planned for the venue. Site plans submitted to the city show space for an indoor bar and small mezzanine. Good said the outdoor patios will have 62 percent permeable space with trees, fire pits and heaters.

Developers sent letters and/or emails to 31 neighbors inviting them to two Neighborhood Participation Program meetings, which gives residents the ability to hear more about the bar and state any grievances with the proposal. Seven neighborhood associations were also invited – including Faubourg St. John, Parkview and Friends of Lafitte Greenway – and the first meeting was held in early August with 10 attendees, according to city records.

Good – along with Herbert Dyer and Chris Young, both developers – were on-hand at the community meetings to answer questions, documents show.

The business partners have developed several entities around the city, including the Velvet Cactus in Lakeview, the Bulldog pub and Camp Bow Wow. Dyer told the CPC that this plan will benefit the area similarly to the other developments.

“In each of these communities we enjoy a very strong relationship with our neighbors,” he said.

The second meeting, held in December, gathered about nine people in person and four over email, city records show. Questions on the bar’s security and parking were brought up during the meeting, and developers assured there would be “adequate” parking – if necessary, developers offered to reduce the scope of the project if more parking is needed.

There will also be substantial bicycle parking since the bar is just off the Greenway, which is “an essential element of our business plan,” developers said. There will also be a bicycle air pump station for use at the bar.

Security will be provided “if necessary People under 18 may also be allowed on the premises during certain operating hours “in accordance with existing law,” developers told the group.

George Hutchinson, who lives in Faubourg St. John, voiced his approval of the plan to the CPC. Hutchinson said a bicycle-friendly bar would “be a great addition to the neighborhood.”

Dyer and Good coined the idea after a trip to Dallas, Texas, where a similar garden sits just off a bicycle greenway. The businessmen knew the idea “was so New Orleans,” and they’re working to make it happen in Mid-City.

The main point of the beer garden, Good told MCNO last year, is to bring people to the corridor that currently isn’t being used to it’s full potential. The development is far enough away from homes and other bars that it won’t cause a disturbance, but its proximity to the Greenway ensures it could be used by anyone and everyone, he added.

Construction could start as early as this summer, with a possible completion date of Fall 2017.

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