Victory on Air Rights!
At the City Council’s April 27th Governmental Affairs Committee meeting, the City of New Orleans backed off its policy of compelling annual payments and indemnification from owners of properties that have galleries, awnings, eaves, stoops, balconies, and other historic architectural encroachments. You can review the city’s presentation from that meeting here: Encroachment presentation
Make no mistake: this didn’t happen by chance. The outcome was the result of years of work, led by VCPORA. We’ve been researching, documenting, publicizing, educating, pressuring and organizing on the air rights issue for several years, and ramped up our efforts last year when the city began penalizing more and more property owners. An incredible alliance of neighborhood groups, preservation advocates, property owners, tourism interests, attorneys and just plain citizens rose up and fought against an unfair and punitive policy.
Your support of VCPORA made this victory possible!
And this comes on the heels of another victory: exempting the Vieux Carré from the legalization of short-term rentals. Trust us, the STR platforms, like Airbnb and VRBO, coveted this neighborhood. But VCPORA, working with allies within the Quarter and beyond, pushed back, and in the end, we won the fight to keep these de facto hotels from further eroding the residential element of our 299 year old neighborhood. (see map at right, courtesy of The Lens)
The city’s enforcement mechanism is still revving up, but already we’re seeing the impact. Houses and apartments that had been converted to hotels are returning to the market, for rental or for sale. That means more full-time, permanent residents in our neighborhood, which means more neighbors!
YOU helped make that happen by supporting VCPORA, and the work we do every day, work that is often behind-the-scenes; requiring diligence, vigilance, consistency, follow-through, and research.
And now, we’re carefully watching the city’s proposed security plan, which would have the biggest impact on the French Quarter, particularly the call to close Bourbon Street and its intersections to vehicular traffic. Our public meeting on April 4 drew over 100 Quarter residents and businesses, and offered them a chance to give feedback to the city on the plan.
What is VCPORA’s value to this neighborhood? To this city? To you?
We hope that the work we do, day in and day out, means something to you. Our efforts to protect and preserve this neighborhood are ongoing. VCPORA monitors the Vieux Carré’s 4,000 buildings for changes that affect the integrity of the neighborhood. Each month, we attend meetings of the City Council, NOPD, Vieux Carré Commission, Board of Zoning Adjustments, City Planning Commission, Historic District Landmarks Commission, Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, and French Quarter Management District. Weekly, we field dozens of calls from residents about a wide range of issues: from graffiti to garbage – even broken street lights.
If you appreciate what VCPORA does for the Vieux Carré, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our work. Truly, every donation helps. Help us protect and preserve this irreplaceable neighborhood, for this and many generations to come.
Rick Normand, President, VCPORA