2014 National Planning Excellence Awards: Planning Advocate

Cynthia Lee-Sheng, Jefferson Parish Council

Gretna, Louisiana

Cynthia Lee-Sheng has been instrumental in supporting planning efforts to address the community development challenges and chronic disinvestment facing the 134-acre area in Jefferson Parish known as "Fat City." Since her election to the Jefferson Parish Council in 2009, Lee-Sheng has embraced the planning process and exhibited a genuine commitment to the neighborhood's long-term prosperity and improving resident quality of



Lee-Sheng collaborated with a citizen-led planning task force and successfully persuaded the city council to adopt the Fat City strategic plan as a component of the parish's comprehensive plan. She appointed a Fat City advisory board to garner consensus for long-term priorities such as creation of the Fat City business development district. Lee-Sheng led the re-zoning effort to encourage mixed use, design and use standards to curtail all-night bars. As a result of the zoning changes, police calls to the area have declined by 32 percent. Investment in the area also has increased with the redevelopment of former buildings into new restaurants, office space, and a new wellness center. Lee-Sheng has forged new alliances and has encouraged collaboration between businesses and civic leaders.

Cynthia Lee-Sheng frequently meets with constituents to discuss projects.