Three years ago, a good amount of neighborhood beefin' surrounded Chef Greg Sonnier when he wanted to open his former restaurant, Gabrielle, at The Uptowner banquet hall. Now, new plans might incite neighborhood beef, part two and a whole 'nother taste of NIMBY as there's talk of leasing the Henry Clay Avenue space to a non-profit that would run a halfway house for prisoners. According to the Uptown Messenger, a sign topped with an "official zoning notice" header is posted at the former banquet hall and states: "Approved: The 'O.P.P.R.I. House Orleans Parish Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative, a partnership with the O.P.P. and the La. Department of Corrections" and mentions the permitted zoning of a small group home at this property.
Apparently, the State Department of Corrections has no clue about these plans and the sheriff's office said "they're not affiliated with it in any way." While Sonnier said, "...I think the neighbors will embrace something like that," a look at the city's One Stop App site, which lists licenses and permits that have been filed, shows that a zoning violation for the location (screen shot pictured) was filed March 28. Zoning does allow for a small group home at the site, just not one for former inmates.
· Greg Sonnier's new plan for The Uptowner on Henry Clay: a prisoner halfway house? [Uptown Messenger]
· City Council rejects Gabrielle's petition to reopen on Henry Clay [Uptown Messenger]
· One Stop App [official site]