Second Chance(s) to Weigh In on STRs! CPC to Take Written Comment; Hold Special Meeting

G O O D   N E W S !

two more chances to weigh in on short-term rentals

CITY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING TO HOLD ADDITIONAL MEETING ON SHORT-TERM RENTALS

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3   1 P.M. 
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

At Tuesday’s marathon City Planning Commission meeting, the commissioners agreed that there had not been enough time for the public, or for themselves, to fully digest and analyze the 155 page staff report.  They acted to defer their vote, and to have a second CPC meeting dedicated to short-term rentals. 

We thank the City Planning Commissioners and CPC staff for working to ensure a robust and thorough public process!

The big news here is that the public now has two more chances to weigh in: at the public meeting, and via written comment!

If you couldn’t attend yesterday’s meeting (or couldn’t stay), you can attend next Wednesday’s meeting.  And whether you plan to attend or not, we encourage everyone to send comments to the City Planning Commission Details are below.

Please take a moment to send an email – the CPC needs to hear from you, the public, on this vital issue!

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Written Public Comment to the City Planning Commission on Short-Term Rentals

  • Emails should be sent to cpcinfo@nola.gov (and please, cc info@vcpora.org)
  • Subject line should include the words “short-term rental study”
  • Don’t forget to sign your name!
  • To read the Short-Term Rental Committee’s analysis of the report, click here
  • To read the City Planning Commission staff report, click here

Suggested text for your email (but please feel free to edit to make it your own!):

Dear City Planning Commissioners:

I write to ask you to uphold the 50 year ban on new and expanded short-term rentals in the Vieux Carre.  The staff’s recommendation to overturn the ban suggests that the Quarter be treated the same as other neighborhoods.  That ignores the reality – the French Quarter is not like other neighborhoods.  We have our own zoning and our own historic commission.  And we are the only neighborhood in New Orleans – really, in the country – to play host to 10 million visitors a year.

Since enforcement began in earnest in April of 2017, we’ve seen hundreds of living units – apartments, condominiums, and houses – come back on the market as actual housing, rather than being used as illegal hotels.  This has meant hundreds and hundreds of new neighbors in our neighborhood!   We call this a step in the right direction, and urge you to uphold it, so that we can continue to rebuild our residential population.

Sincerely,   . . .

p.s. Thank you so much for deferring your vote to allow more time for public input and discussion. This issue certainly merits careful, deliberate review.

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What about the rest of the report?

There are numerous suggestions included in the 155 page CPC staff report (click here to read the full report), some of which we support wholeheartedly, some of which we oppose, and some of which we think don’t go far enough.  Working with other members of the Short-Term Rental Committee, we analyzed the report.  A summary of that analysis is below, and a more complete analysis can be found here.

Please note that we have done our best to review and evaluate the findings in the report, but the short time frame means that our analysis may be less than completely thorough.  We look forward to a robust, deliberative public process by the City Planning Commission and the City Council to ensure that the end result reflects the best possible solution to protect New Orleans neighborhoods and neighbors.

Areas of support

  • Requiring residential category STR operators to be on-site during guest stays in residential areas
  • Requiring homestead exemptions for one of the two residential category STRs
  • Maintaining the ability of owner-occupants to rent out portions of their homes (“accessory” permit under current regulations), either in-unit or in another unit on the parcel
  • Limiting commercial category STRs in less-intense, neighborhood business zones
  • Increasing the required contributions of the STR industry toward the Neighborhood Improvement Housing Fund for affordable housing
  • Increasing maximum fines on violators

Areas of concern

  • Creating  a “special event” category, which would be a difficult-to-enforce gray area
  • Using STRs as a form of blight remediation in historic neighborhoods, where there is very little market-caused blight

Areas of opposition

  • Allowing non-owner-occupants to obtain STR licenses, which could perpetuate ownership of multiple units by single investors/companies
  • Lack of specifics for platform accountability, particularly financial consequences for companies like Airbnb, HomeAway, etc., which will be absolutely necessary to effective enforcement
  • Lifting the French Quarter ban, which has been in effect since 1969
  • Lack of a mechanism for extending the ban to the Garden District and other vulnerable or highly-impacted neighborhoods.