Mayor Nagin announced before the City Council's recovery committee yesterday afternoon that he will lift the executive order which suspends the functions of the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee on Friday at 5 pm. This is a committee charged with the review of demolition applications in National Register and other older neighborhood districts not within one of the local historic districts. His executive order sought to speed the process of demolishing buildings that were in imminent danger of collapse -- a power he already had without any order.
We think the executive order was a misguided effort, opening the door to more mischief among the sanitation department, code enforcement officials, demolition contractors, and property owners eager to clear properties throughout the city. Why the executive order couldn't be lifted sooner is not clear. We are going to try to determine -- of the properties for which demolition permits have been written since the executive order--how many of them were improperly issued because they did not in fact pose a threat of collapse, but rather had been swept up in the net as properties the city had cited as imminent health threats.