New Orleans City Council on Thursday passed rules to stop conversions from modest homes to massive dorms and address parking issues that have long plagued Uptown.
The motion that council approved Thursday requires developers to provide one off-street parking space per bedroom in new or renovated homes with more than four bedrooms. The rules exempt properties that have received homestead exemptions, as well as commercially zoned properties and affordable housing developments.
Parking spaces must be constructed of permeable materials and properties cannot have more than two and a half bathrooms. The rules apply to the Hollygrove, Leonidas, Carrollton, Black Pearl and Audubon neighborhoods, among others.
Council member Joe Giarrusso said the changes would help keep neighborhoods affordable. The move makes permanent a temporary requirement for developers to provide parking for each new room, something the council adopted last year.
“These dorms increase rental rates, decrease affordability and ensure that the prices of homes purchased in the area are higher, which also results in higher taxes,” Giarrusso said.
His proposal, unanimously approved by council, went against the recommendation of the planning commission, which had studied the matter for months at the request of council. Commission staff said the off-street parking requirement would increase housing costs and discriminate against tenants.
New Orleans City Council moved closer to permanently changing parking rules in Uptown University District on Thursday, a move designed …
At issue are the conversions of single and two-family homes to multi-bedroom developments near Tulane and Loyola universities. These developments are then marketed to students who wish to live off campus.
Instead of charging $ 1,100 per month to rent a two-bedroom shotgun, a common practice in the Uptown area, developers turn these homes into multiplexes, then rent them out for up to $ 1,100 per month per bedroom. , said Giarrusso. This represents up to $ 96,000 in income per year.
The practice has crowded residential streets in the area, as many university students living in these properties have little off-street space to park their cars. The city’s infrastructure is also under stress with so many people living in one space, supporters of the council’s decision said.
“In the four blocks around my house, we have 13 houses where families have been moved to allow investors to come in and change the structure of these houses into something they were not intended for,” said Ken Gelpi, who lives near Lusher. Charter School and Tulane University.
A representative from the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, one of the early critics of the rules, welcomed the amended rules more warmly on Thursday, though he urged the council to ensure that onerous parking requirements do not drive up the prices of houses.
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“It’s a neighborhood that is already not affordable, and I understand that the units that are created by these opportunistic developers are even more expensive,” said Maxwell Ciardullo. “But if you need any new development to include parking spaces, that will increase the cost of the development and… of housing as well.”
Still other affordable housing advocates have bluntly criticized the effort. Andreanecia Morris of HousingNOLA and the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance called it “bad policy that does not address the fundamental problem … it wants to solve, while discouraging the development of affordable housing in the process.”
The council’s rules would not apply to affordable housing projects that reserve 50% of their units for families earning 60% of the area’s median income or less, or up to $ 42,060 for a family of four. These units are to remain affordable for two decades, the rules say.
The board will draft the details of the motion approved Thursday in an ordinance, which board members will approve at a later date.