Happy New Year!
VCPORA Advocacy Update
Monday, January 2, 2023
Please attend this upcoming City Planning Commission Public Meeting on the new Short Term Rental regulations.
Short Term Rentals
CPC Public Input Meeting
Thursday, January 5, 2023
6:00PM – 7:30PM
The City Planning Commission staff will hold a virtual meeting to take your questions and comments about the City Council’s proposed Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance text amendments regarding Short Term Rentals (STRs).
Join the Zoom Here: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87921212533?pwd=VWJaNjFqQndWT0Z5QWdVOVQvL1p2Zz09
Or Dial in by Telephone (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 646 931 3860
Webinar ID: 879 2121 2533
A recap of previous legislation and why we are here now
In 2019, the City Council approved the second round of Short Term Rental (STRs) regulations allowing for commercial and residential units across the city. Neighborhood prohibitions were continued in the French Quarter (except for the VCE district of Bourbon Street) and introduced in the Garden District. In other residential neighborhoods, a major requirement was the possession of a Homestead Exemption by the property owner. This mechanism was designed to restrict STRs to properties where the owners lived, effectively prohibiting them for investors that had been rapidly consuming many neighborhoods.
In August, a federal appeals court ruled that the Homestead Exemption requirement violated the rights of STR owners outside of Louisiana. In response, the City Council, led by J.P. Morrell, immediately moved to re-open the regulations and passed an Interim Zoning District (IZD) to prevent the issuance of any new permits while new rules could be put in place, ideally for one year. Residential STR permit holders are currently allowed to renew their permits if they were in good standing prior to the temporary ban.
In December, a 5th-Circuit Court ruling demanded that the city must accelerate the process and have all new regulations in place by March 31, 2023. Given the narrow timeline for the City Planning department to draft new regulations, in partnership with Safety & Permits and the city’s STR office, we anticipate a draft of these regulations to be reviewed at the January 24th City Planning Commission meeting and then forwarded on to the City Council in February.
Here we go again…
To guide the City Planning Department in their review of the regulations, the City Council issued a motion for them to look at a range of ways to protect neighborhoods from investor expansion of STRs, including additional/new prohibitions, capping measures, platform accountability and data collection, and updates to the fee and fine structures.
The City Planning Commission will review a draft report of staff recommendations at their January 24th scheduled meeting. Written comments regarding STR regulations are due by 5:00 pm on Monday, January 16th. Please send your initial comments to email@example.com. From there, the regulations will continue to the City Council for final review.
How does this impact the French Quarter?
Despite rising frustration with STR enforcement citywide, the Vieux Carré has benefitted from the prohibition in place. While many are operating illegally, those units that have been returned to the long term rental market have welcomed new residents to our neighborhood. Yet, it has become clear that certain interests are looking to overturn that prohibition, effectively ending a 50-year-old de facto moratorium on lodging accommodations in the French Quarter, which would not only reverse this trend, but would immediately convert hundreds of residential units to hotel rooms.
Please plan to attend this virtual meeting! We encourage you to send your comments to the City Planning Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share a full report from the meeting, including follow-up concerns afterward.