New Orleans City Council

Monday, January 23, 2017

Landrieu calls for expanded surveillance, strict bar rules under citywide crime plan

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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A sweeping surveillance plan calls for 200 cameras throughout several New Orleans neighborhoods, while New Orleans bars will have to close their doors (but not close for the night) at 3 a.m. as a network of law enforcement tightens pedestrian traffic. The rules are part of a citywide plan from Mayor Mitch Landrieu with the cooperation of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana State Police (LSP), the FBI and members of the New Orleans City Council.

The $40 million plan adds surveillance cameras to 20 "hotspots" through the city to be monitored by NOPD, as well as license plate readers at more than 100 intersections, "remote sensing technology" to detect weapons, and bomb-sniffing K-9 units. Bourbon Street will be pedestrian-only for major events and will go permanently pedestrian-only when the city finalizes a traffic plan, likely within four to six months. Bourbon Street will also have more lighting.

"When you go on Bourbon Street, everything you do will be seen," Landrieu said at a press conference Jan. 23.  "Do I need to let that sink in?"

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Orleans rental registry and inspections gets City Council support, but debate will continue

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 7:30 PM

New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.
  • New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.

A program to register and inspect most rental units in the city will head to the New Orleans City Council, but councilmembers are likely to make changes to the measure in the coming weeks.

A 4-0 vote from the Council's Community Development Committee Jan. 18 sends the 15-page plan — an ordinance outlining the fees for rental unit registration and requirements for inspection — to the full Council for a vote, but councilmembers, residents and landlords raised several questions about how it'll work and whether there could be significant negative impacts to the city's affordable housing stock. "The bottom line is, our citizens deserve better," said District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, who co-authored the ordinance with At-Large Councilmember Jason Williams. "Housing that doesn’t meet quality standards impacts everybody."

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Friday, December 30, 2016

New Orleans to add 55 new speeding "traffic safety cameras" in early 2017

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 12:49 PM

You'll see dozens more of these around New Orleans in 2017. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • You'll see dozens more of these around New Orleans in 2017.

Something to add to your New Year's resolutions: Stop speeding — or at least keep an eye out for the 55 new "traffic safety cameras" that City Hall will be deploying in school zones in early 2017. That's almost a doubling of the current number of cameras, which total 66.

The additions were announced in October as part of the 2017 municipal budget and approved by the New Orleans City Council in November, and are expected to reap $5 million in revenue for the city. The rollout begins Jan. 9.

Revenue wasn't mentioned in the city's press release this morning, which stated that the goal of the new cameras was "to deter red light violations, reduce speeding violations, increase traffic situational awareness and reduce collision severity."

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Friday, December 23, 2016

American Can and the future of affordable housing in New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 2:00 PM

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New Orleans housing advocacy groups demand the owners of the American Can Company apartments halt evictions after low-income tenants there were told to leave their homes, with an end-of-2016 deadline.

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC), representing Michael Esnault, a Vietnam War veteran and tenant at the building for more than six years. and other tenants at the Mid-City apartment building, demand the owners extend the deadline and help ease affordability options for the dozens of tenants facing the loss of their housing.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Y@ Speak: "fake news"

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 6:15 PM


The U.S. Senate race is closing, short-term rentals are going to explode, Louisiana mourns Joe McKnight and fights for justice, Mike Pence stumps in New Orleans, and the Saints are a very fun, anxiety-free football team.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Orleans short-term rental laws get final vote

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 4:30 PM

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Following several years of debate, New Orleans officials passed a series of ordinances Dec. 1 to legalize, and enforce, short-term rentals. With input from Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration, Airbnb and the City Planning Commission, the New Orleans City Council passed several ordinances that amend the city's governing zoning code to include rules for short-term rentals on websites like Airbnb and HomeAway in New Orleans.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Short-term rentals in New Orleans get City Council approval

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 9:15 PM

At an Oct. 20 New Orleans City Council meeting, opponents of whole-home rentals in New Orleans wore "shame" buttons, with the Airbnb logo replacing the "A."
  • At an Oct. 20 New Orleans City Council meeting, opponents of whole-home rentals in New Orleans wore "shame" buttons, with the Airbnb logo replacing the "A."

Airbnb now has a framework to operate, legally, in New Orleans. After months of debates and public meetings over short-term rentals (STRs), their proliferation, and the impacts they've had in the city over the last several years, the New Orleans City Council on Oct. 20 passed a measure — introduced by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration this week — that sets up permits, fees, taxes and an infrastructure for short-term rentals advertised on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

The motion prohibits full-time whole-home short term rentals in residential areas — but it will allow whole-home "temporary rentals" up to 90 days a year.

The vote followed a week of compromises laid out by Landrieu's administration, which initially supported the practice of whole-home rentals in residential neighborhoods, but backed off in favor of "temporary rentals" up to 120 days a year, then, ultimately, 90 days. Housing advocacy groups and residents — disappointed with the compromise vote — have demanded the city prohibit all whole-home rentals. Opponents, in red, wearing "shame" buttons and holding up signs, called councilmembers "sellouts"; proponents cheered.

The motion serves as a starting point to amend the city's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, the city's massive rulebook for land use through which all property manners adhere. It now will incorporate STRs.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

New Orleans City Council moves short-term rental vote to Oct. 20

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 6:00 PM

City Councilmember caricatures on the steps of City Hall during a protest on Sept. 27.
  • City Councilmember caricatures on the steps of City Hall during a protest on Sept. 27.

Following years of debate and several studies, the New Orleans City Council was set to vote on a framework for regulating short-term rentals advertised through platforms like Airbnb. The vote was scheduled for Oct. 6. Today, the City Council announced it's moving the matter to Oct. 20.

But if the Council misses its Oct. 20 deadline, that could table the issue for good, at least until the next administration steps in.

The City Council is looking at a lengthy report and recommendations from the City Planning Commission (CPC) outlining four potential types of short-term rentals, a practice that currently is illegal but rarely if ever enforced. The CPC voted to prohibit whole-home rentals in residential areas, which account for nearly three-quarters of all short-term rentals in New Orleans and 2 percent of the city's entire housing stock.

Only a few City Councilmembers have spoken out against whole-home rentals — District A Councilmember Susan Guidry told Gambit in July that they're "the biggest threat to the quality of life of our long-term residents." District D Councilmember Jared Brossett said he's concerned about the "commercialization of residential neighborhoods as a result of whole-house short-term rentals." At-Large Councilmember Stacy Head said they would likely be "heavily regulated" if they're approved.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Four-story Hampton Inn hotel planned for Elysian Fields Avenue in Faubourg Marigny

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 1:25 PM

One of Banksy's New Orleans works included this piece at 501 Elysian Fields Ave. - INFROGMATION OF NEW ORLEANS / CREATIVE COMMONS
  • INFROGMATION OF NEW ORLEANS / CREATIVE COMMONS
  • One of Banksy's New Orleans works included this piece at 501 Elysian Fields Ave.

Developers plan to construct a Hilton Hampton Inn hotel in the Marigny at the corner of Elysian Fields Avenue and Decatur Street. A Sept. 29 letter sent to residents outlines plans for a four-story hotel with 119 rooms, front pedestrian entrances on Elysian Fields and onsite parking accessed by driveways opening on Decatur Street, with landscaping to provide a "visual barrier." Francisco Alecha of Alecha Architecture writes that it would take about 18 months to construct after plans are approved.

Developers will host a community meeting at 7:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17 at St. Paul Lutheran Church (2614 Burgundy St., at Franklin Avenue), where residents "are invited to ask questions or pose concerns about our project," according to the letter. The building requires a conditional use permit for construction, which must be approved by the City Planning Commission and the New Orleans City Council.

Developer Amit Patel — through his group 501 EFA Hotel, which has developed several hotels in the New Orleans area — bought the building for $3.5 million last month. The building previously was held by developer Sean Cummings, who bought it for $1.1 million in 2007 with plans for the "Elysio Lofts," a $20 million, six-story condo project that opened a debate with neighbors and the city over its high-rise future, potentially opening the doors for similar developments downtown. In 2012, the City Council effectively killed the plans.

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bywater, Marigny, St. Roch residents march against whole-home short-term rentals

Posted By on Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 8:48 PM

A parade opposing whole-home short-term rentals was held today in the Bywater, Marigny and St. Roch neighborhoods. It was staged in Bywater's Mickey Markey Park.
  • A parade opposing whole-home short-term rentals was held today in the Bywater, Marigny and St. Roch neighborhoods. It was staged in Bywater's Mickey Markey Park.

About 125 downtown residents held a "neighborhood parade" this afternoon to protest whole-home short-term rentals. The issue — debated for years — has heated up in recent months in New Orleans, and it's scheduled to come before the New Orleans City Council for a vote Oct. 6. The City Planning Commission has recommended banning whole-home rentals, but the Council has been hesitant to rule them out completely, partially at the request of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration.  

The event was the brainchild of Bywater resident and artist Devin DeWulf, who said the homemade parade — complete with babies in strollers, dogs and the Treme Brass Band — was an "opportunity to celebrate a bit," and stressed that "no one" was objecting to a homeowner renting out a bedroom in his or her house as a side hustle. "But we have people who are out-of-town landlords that rent out whole houses like hotels," he said.

"The City Council can do whatever they want," DeWulf added, "but they have a history of disregarding the recommendations of the City Planning Commission."

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