Notes from New Orleans: Permit Moratorium

Posted on: January 4th, 2008 by Walter Gallas

Overlooked by many at the City Council meeting approving the public housing demolitions on December 20, was the passage later in the day of a moratorium on all permits—building permits as well as demolition permits—within the boundaries of the proposed LSU and VA medical complexes in the Mid-City National Register historic district.

Ostensibly, the moratorium is "...to enable the study and development of a zoning classification appropriate for a Regional Medical District...." It is to remain in effect for one year "...or until implementation of permanent land use measures in conjunction with the planning and development of the Regional Medical District...." If someone wants to get a permit, they must appeal to the City Planning Commission staff and then the applicant must go before the City Council. Demolition applications in this area would no longer go before the Housing Conservation District Review Committee; they would go through the same appeal process.

This places a new burden and disincentive on a property owner to repair his property in this neighborhood—and places everything under the authority of the City Council. The lead on the moratorium was Councilwoman Stacy Head.

This affects 71 acres of land, some of which have been repopulated by residents repairing and returning to their homes, as well as local institutions such as Deutsches Haus, a long-standing German society.

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