City Council Fights Over Historic Preservation and Short-Term Rentals

by • October 3, 2017 • Residential, Zoning and Land UseComments (0)3616

One of the properties in the 2600 block of Marais Street slated for demolition. Image via Google Maps.

New City Council arguments over a demolition request last week led to further clashes and division within the council over historic preservation and short-term rentals, according to our friends at the Preservation Resource Center.

The debate started when the owner of two historic shotguns on Marais Street in St. Roch, Stephen Agans, sought to demolish the structures and replace them with new construction, which some Councilmembers presumed would be used as short-term rentals.

According to the article,

“Erin Holmes, the PRC’s Advocacy Coordinator, opposed the demolitions before City Council, noting that they would destroy irreplaceable historic inventory and reduce potential housing for local residents in favor of short-term rentals. Councilmember Stacy Head also spoke out vehemently against the demolition of the historic buildings, suggesting that the demolitions were only requested in order to redevelop the properties as short-term rentals.

Head pointed out that the property owner requesting the demolition owns another short-term rental in New Orleans, which was redeveloped in an identical manner with a new construction double shotgun. The owner has a homestead exemption on the property, allowing them to rent out half of the double as a short-term rental full time, but the listing advertises that the other half of the shotgun is vacant. “How are we continuing to allow short-term rentals to obliterate our neighborhoods because they aren’t following the rules we set up in the first place?” asked Head. Watch the video here.

Despite the opposition from the Preservation Resource Center and Councilmembers Head and Guidry, the Council approved the demolition 4-2.

You can check out further discussion at The Advocate.

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