NEW ORLEANS - Today, District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer announced she will push for a temporary prohibition on new commercial short-term rental (STR) licenses and new and renewal temporary STR licenses. Councilmember Palmer has submitted two motions for the regularly scheduled Council meeting this Thursday, May 24th, to halt permits and licenses relative to temporary and commercial STRs, as defined by the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, in certain areas of the city.
The legislation, comprised of two motions, will address several concerns associated with STRs including:
- Expanding the study of STR regulations to provide additional guidance for the City Planning Commission for the issuance of future STR licenses
- Creating an Interim Zoning District in the Historic Core, Historic Urban and CBD zoning districts, which will prohibit the issuance of temporary and commercial STR licenses and the renewal of temporary STR licenses
"The approval of short-term rental regulations more than a year ago was a first step, rather than the final word," said Councilmember Palmer. "This legislative package is intended to afford the Council and the City Planning Commission the opportunity to revise existing short-term rental regulations in a way that limits disruption to neighborhoods and communities. Communities in my District, particularly the Bywater, Marigny, Treme, St. Roch and Old Algiers are being inundated with short-term rentals. Not only does this negatively impact the quality of life for residents in those areas, it erodes the unique fabric of these historic neighborhoods."
District "A" Councilmember Joseph Giarrusso, III, is supporting the efforts as a co-sponsor of the two proposals.
"Clearly we need to take a step back and look at how the short-term rental regulations have affected our neighborhoods," said Councilmember Giarrusso. "Having been on the books for over a year now, we have data and experience available to evaluate the policy, see what changes should be made, and study how enforcement can be improved. Councilmember Giselson Palmer and her staff deserve credit for spearheading this effort."
The previous Council approved the STR program in October 2016. Those laws went into effect April 2017, and since then more than 10,270 applications have been submitted, resulting in the issuance of 5,608 licenses.
"As a Councilmember elected to represent the best interests of my constituents and the citizens of New Orleans, I cannot support a practice that is driving up housing prices, increasing tax assessments, hurting the industries that form the backbone of our economy, commercializing our residential neighborhoods, and eroding the authenticity of New Orleans," said Councilmember Brossett. "This is why I voted against legalizing short-term rentals in 2016, and why I support implementing a prohibition today until a better policy can be developed."
District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks said many historical neighborhoods are overwhelmed by STRs especially in Central City, which he represents.
"This technology isn't going away," said Councilmember Jay H. Banks. "We do however have to ensure any negative impacts on this community are kept at a minimum and that the City derives as much positive benefit as possible."
The legislation in question will have no impact on STR operators with a homestead exemption. Councilmember Palmer explained saying, "There is consensus in the short-term rental debate that homestead exempt properties should be allowed to continue operating. With my housing background, I have assisted plenty of first-time homebuyers and existing homeowners, and recognize how important it is that we provide a means for people to earn meaningful supplemental income to help make ends meet. However, we must draw the line on the outside interests who are gutting our historic neighborhoods and driving long-term residents out. We cannot preserve the character and culture of New Orleans if we displace the people who bring that character and culture to life."