NEW ORLEANS - At today's meeting, the Council unanimously passed legislation authored by District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer to review and improve regulations of the city's short-term rental (STR) program.
"I would like to thank members of the Council who supported our efforts today to improve the City's STR program," said Councilmember Palmer. "I applaud the individual New Orleanians, neighborhood associations, and business owners who participated in today's Council's meeting to voice their concerns. We have said from the beginning that this was going to be a process that involved those impacted, and today was a great example of that. This legislation is a first step towards revising and improving the STR regulations to restore and preserve the residential fabric in historic areas of the city, many of which I represent such as the Marigny, Bywater, Treme, and Old Algiers."
The Council approved three motions, which address a number of concerns associated with the issuance of licenses for STR's including:
- Establishing a nine-month Interim Zoning District prohibiting issuance of new and renewal temporary licenses in the Historic Core, Historic Urban, CBD, Mixed Use -1 and 2 zoning districts. Most of Gentilly, Lakeview, New Orleans East and the suburban parts of Algiers are excluded from the Interim Zoning District
- No longer prohibits issuing new commercial STRs except on the first floor of a multi-story building allowing for residential uses
- Directing the City Planning Commission (CPC), which issues STR licenses, to conduct a broader study of the program within 120 days
“This is about achieving balance,” said Councilmember Giarrusso. “We must preserve economics but first and foremost we must preserve our neighborhoods.”
In addition, the CPC must expand the scope of the current study to include local data on STRs, regulations in other cities, and possible updates to the Council's new regulations. The CPC is required to hold a public hearing within the next 60 days or by the July 23rd deadline and release their study's findings 60 days thereafter due September 21st.
"There is a difference between locals sharing their properties and corporations buying up houses and apartment units and turning them into hotels," said Council President Jason Williams. "These national and sometimes international corporations are artificially driving up the cost to buy a home or rent a home in our city. That is patently unfair to people of New Orleans. I have a serious problem with that. There was not effective enforcement from the previous administration or voluntary compliance on the part of these companies and platforms. This study will look at all of this and more so that we can take next steps to protect our city."
Councilmember Palmer continued saying, "My colleagues and I are committed to finding a balance on how we keep the STR program but address the concerns of historic neighborhoods. We're asking the City Planning Commission to take a look at how Nashville, Austin, Savannah and other cities are regulating their STRl programs. I campaigned on this issue, heard from my constituents and I am adamant about continuing open dialogue and discussions moving forward. This legislative package includes a process for a hearing to inform the public of developments of the study, gather their feedback and ultimately create a new STR law."
"I voted in 2016 against allowing STRs because the legislation didn't go far enough, which was noted in the many issues brought up by the members of the public who spoke today," said Councilmember Brossett. "At that time, I wanted first to establish an effective regulatory framework and a proven enforcement mechanism to ensure the preservation of our neighborhoods. That did not happen. Now the Council must find a solution to STRs, which is revving up housing prices, hurting the industries that form the backbone of our economy and eroding the authenticity of our great city."