What’s at stake this time?

Next Thursday, May 16, beginning at 9:30 am, the City Council will revisit the ongoing issue of Short Term Rental regulation. Two Zoning Dockets, ZD 026/19 & ZD 027/19, which detail where and what kind of Short Term Rentals (STRs) may be allowed in New Orleans. VCPORA believes these regulations will go a long way to protect our neighborhoods from the adverse impacts that an over-proliferation of STRs have inflicted. But your input is still needed!

First, the GREAT news – a Homestead Exemption will now be required for all STRs in residential zoning districts. This means the property owners must live on site and be present to accept all responsibility for their guests. This also means that well-heeled investors cannot continue to buy multiple properties in the same desirable areas, artificially inflating property values and forcing long-term residents out.

And now the alarming news:

The prohibition of STRs in the Vieux Carré is still under threat and similarly affected neighborhoods remain vulnerable without additional protection. The City Planning Commission agreed that the French Quarter is a unique neighborhood facing extreme pressure not seen in the rest of the city. For this reason, they recommended to maintain the 50 year prohibition of new hotel accommodations, including STRs, in the French Quarter … mostly.

The 2016 Short Term Rental ordinance only allowed STRs in the Vieux Carré Entertainment district (VCE) along the 200-700 blocks of Bourbon Street. Though the City Planning Commission has agreed that the residential and commercial zoning districts are inappropriate for STR use, they have recommended also allowing STRs in the VCE-1 district, or the two blocks along Decatur and South Peters from Iberville to Conti.

VCPORA remains in ABSOLUTE OPPOSITION to any further spread of STRs in the French Quarter!

This represents an erosion of the 1969 Vieux Carré prohibition on new hotel and lodging accommodations and a continued creep of Short Term Rentals into this fragile neighborhood. If this is approved, the adjacent commercial districts, which include residential units, will be eyed for any later round of ordinances. The French Quarter cannot survive being continuously nibbled away at the edges.

The Garden District is seeking a prohibition of all STRs within their boundaries and neighborhoods adjacent to the French Quarter, such as Tremé and the Marigny, seek density limitations, such as 2 STRs per block face – none of which made it into the City Planning Commission’s recommendations. The most impacted neighborhoods have shown that the massive profit-making potential of operating businesses out of residential homes will continue to price out existing residents and turn our communities into hotel districts.

New STR Categories & Regulations:

Residential STRs – For Owner Occupants, Homestead Exemption required

Partial Unit Residential – Inside your home

  • Allows homeowners to rent up to 5 bedrooms in the home they live in
  • Allowed in all residential zoning districts

Small Residential – The other half of a double or accessory dwelling unit on the same lot

  • Allows homeowners to rent up to 5 bedrooms in a separate dwelling unit on the lot they permanently live on
  • Allowed in all residential zoning districts

Large Residential – Smaller multifamily structures, such as a four-plex

  • Allows homeowners to rent up to 9 bedrooms in up to 3 dwelling units with 18 guests maximum per unit
  • Owner must live in on-site unit
  • Prohibited on the first floor of non-residential multi-story buildings that can contain residential uses on upper floors in most zoning districts
  • Restricted to multi-family, mixed-use, and commercial zoning districts
  • One Large Scale Residential STR is allowed per block face, though this limit does not apply to the other two residential STR types

Commercial STRs – Owner not required on site

  • Maximum of 5 bedrooms with up to 10 guests per unit
  • Requires noise abatement, security and operations plans
  • No more than 25 percent of total units on a lot shall be permitted as a Commercial STR, except on Canal Street between Rampart Street and the Mississippi River, the VCE and VCE-1 districts
  • Would be allowed in VCE and VCE-1, though not in other Vieux Carré commercial districts

Other encouraging portions of the City Planning recommendations include tying the creation of STRs in Commercial areas to the production of affordable housing either through bonuses in any recommended density caps, the imposition of impact fees, or through other methods. Additional study for these requirements is recommended and will be taken up in later ordinances.

What Can You Do?

Attend the hearing at City Hall next Thursday, May 16, at 9:30 am and WEAR RED!

Call and email the City Council!

  • Support the Homestead Exemption requirement in residential areas!
  • Protect the Vieux Carré! Keep the 50 year moratorium on all new hotel accommodations, including STRs, in the French Quarter. Do not allow additional districts like the VCE-1 to be carved out. The French Quarter cannot sustain any new short term rental growth. The risks are simply too high!
  • Tie the creation of STRs in commercial areas to the production of affordable housing either through bonuses in any recommended density caps, the imposition of impact fees, or through other methods. The profit-potential of this lucrative business model should be leveraged for remediation of the adverse impacts it has on community sustainability, particularly housing affordability.
  • Protect the neighborhoods buckling under the weight of tourism pressures and STR Saturation:
  • Support the prohibition in the Garden District!
  • Support a density requirement of two STRs per block face in other densely impacted neighborhoods like the Marigny and Treme.
District Councilmember Email Phone
At-Large Helena Moreno morenocouncil@nola.gov (504) 658-1060
At-Large Jason Williams jasonwilliams@nola.gov (504) 658-1070
District A Joe Giarrusso joseph.giarrusso@nola.gov (504) 658-1010
District B Jay Banks jay.banks@nola.gov (504) 658-1020
District C Kristin Gisleson Palmer kristin.palmer@nola.gov (504) 658-1030
District D Jared Brossett councildistrictd@nola.gov (504) 658-1040
District E Cyndi Nguyen cyndi.nguyen@nola.gov (504) 658-1050