This news brief appeared in the March issue of PRC’s Preservation in Print magazine. Interested in getting more preservation stories like this delivered to your door nine times a year? Become a member of the PRC for a subscription!
The New Orleans City Council has approved changes to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance intended to facilitate the reuse of empty two-, three- and four-unit residential buildings where current zoning does not allow multi-family construction. In many older neighborhoods, small apartments were built decades before zoning restrictions limited residential construction to singles or doubles. Until now, owners of some vacant multi-family dwellings were deterred from returning them to occupancy by a costly and time-consuming process.
Finalized in January after a back-and-forth process with the City Planning Commission that lasted several months, the changes allow the re-occupancy of smaller “established multifamily” dwellings without a conditional use permit provided no changes are made to the building footprint.
Conditional use permits, which entail filing fees, architectural drawings and a public hearing, are still required for vacant structures with five or more residential units. Owners of multi-family buildings that have not been vacant more than 180 days may follow a simplified bureaucratic path to “grandfathered” status by requesting a legal nonconforming use determination.
Nathan Lott is PRC’s Advocacy Coordinator & Public Policy Research Director.