The Times-Pic reports that The Vieux Carre Commission has finally approved Sean Meenan's architectural plans for Habana Outpost and a request to change the zoning use for his location. In a 7-1 around-the-world-and-back snap heard around the world (or at least in the French Quarter), and after months of deferring the vote to address design issues, the VCC has finally deemed the location as restaurant worthy. That location is at Rampart and Esplanade, where the 205-seat multi-level Cuban restaurant/Brooklyn transplant aims to take over a blighted gas station and two neighboring buildings, all of which has been the subject of a lot of controversy concerning everything from noise, size, parking, solar panels, a billboard and other issues voiced by neighbors, and addressed by the VCC , for about a year now. While this vote does mean Sean Meenan can move ahead with his plans? read about the plans here in an Eater Interview with Meenan? this probably isn't the end to the controversy just yet, as the The Times-Pic reports:
Meg Lousteau, executive director of the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates organization, a vocal opponent of Habana Outpost, declined to say whether the group will appeal the issue to the City Council. "We're going to regroup," she said.
Opponents were apparently in the minority during yesterday's vote, but according to The Advocate, still brought up issues of the restaurant's size and potentially "out of character" look. When supporters of the Outpost booed the opponents, a commissioner was then forced to "scold the audience," according to NoDef. Fun times.
Meanwhile, there is still the ongoing lawsuit over a billboard on the property, which Meenan plans to use only to promote local nonprofits, but which neighbors complain brings down their property values and is unsafe. The city actually stepped in on Meenan's behalf last month, with hopes of geting the lawsuit dismissed, and the VCC has also approved of the billboard.
The TP reports that Meenan is now "free to complete his construction documents, which he must again present to the VCC for approval before he can secure his permits."
· Habana Outpost Secures Approval of Vieux Carre Commission [NOLA.com]
· Vieux Carre Commission Approves Habana Outpost [Advocate]
· VCC Approves Use For Habana Outpost [NoDef]
· All Habana Outpost Coverage [-ENOLA-]