Pizza Domenica is a half-step closer to opening its glittering new Uptown location, although the proposal to bring its upscale pizza-making to the corner of Magazine and Robert fumbled through the City Planning Commission without receiving a recommendation ahead of its debut in the City Council's spotlight. The increasingly thorny issue of go cups received a lot of attention at the CPC's vote on Tuesday, but the real reason for the split decision in the CPC is a fairly familiar gripe in the annals of urban living: the Besh group's proposal for the new Pizza Domenica doesn't include any off-street parking.
The Besh group had requested an exception to the go cup proviso, one of 13 initially offered by the city planning staff. (Go cup anxiety is becoming distinctly New Orleans brand of paranoia, with certain parties convinced that the City Council is out to eradicate go-cups, one restaurant at a time, even as the City Council insists that go cup provisos for new restaurants are meant only to curtail litter.) According to The Advocate's coverage of the Tuesday's CPC vote on the Besh group's request?supported by four commissioners and opposed by two, thus lacking the five votes needed for an official endorsement?the Besh group argued that patrons would think twice before tossing the glossy black cups Domenica would be providing for its peripatetic imbibers.
From The Advocate:
The remnants of alcoholic beverages served at Pizza Domenica, Besh spokesman Raymond Landry said, would be poured into "souvenir" cups, not go-cups.
Landry showed commission members a black plastic cup, emblazoned with gold lettering, similar to cups tossed from floats during Carnival parades.
"Arguably, it's not even disposable," Landry said. "I think most people take these home and reuse them."
There, you see? Litter isn't an issue when your customer base is in the market for commemorative plastic drink ware that will serve as a daily breakfast reminder of how great a time they had walking home from Domenica.
The two nay votes came from CPC members Lois Carlos-Lawrence and Craig Mitchell (three members of the CPC were absent, meaning that the four favorable votes made up "a plurality, but not a majority"). Although they declined to explain at yesterday's meeting why they objected to the Besh group's request, Mitchell later voiced his concerns about how Domenica's plans for a new joint don't include any off-street parking.
According to the Uptown Messenger, former state Rep. Rosalind Peychaud also voiced her displeasure with planning staff's determination that the configuration of the building at 4935 Magazine Street would keep the new Domenica "under the threshold that would require off-street parking."
I don't know why we continue to plan destination restaurants like this in residential neighborhoods with limited parking even for the families who live there.
In light of the parking nightmares that already disturb the sleep of Uptown motorists, it seems like go cup paranoia is probably a straw man. Off-street parking?now there's your real controversy.
· Go cups dominate discussion, but parking issues around proposed Pizza Domenica split planned commission vote [Uptown Messenger]
· Go-cups take center stage in planning commission's consideration of Uptown pizza restaurant [The Advocate]