Today, the Council unanimously approved motions spearheaded by District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer to modify the City's short-term rental (STR) program, which was approved by the Council in December 2016 and implemented April 2017. As of May 20, 2018, there were 4,554 active STR licenses in New Orleans. These motions give the Council and the City Planning Commission (CPC) the opportunity to review and revise the existing regulations as needed.
The approved proposal will result in the following: Directing the CPC to conduct a study on STRs within 120 days, creating a nine-month Interim Zoning District (IZD) prohibiting the issuance of some STR licenses in certain zoning districts, and no longer prohibiting the issuing new commercial STRs except on first floor of a multi-story building allowing for residential uses.
"I would like to thank members of the Council who supported our efforts today to improve the City's STR program," said Councilmember Palmer. "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 CPC to take a look at how Nashville, Austin, Savannah and other cities are regulating their STR 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."
"This is about achieving balance," said Councilmember Giarrusso. "We must preserve economics but first and foremost we must preserve our neighborhoods."
In regards to the CPC study, the first motion addresses unintended secondary effects of STRs relative to the residential fabric of the City, and possible amendments to regulations in response. The CPC will be required to hold a public hearing within 60 days and release study within 120 days. In regards to the IZD, the second motion prohibits the issuance of new Temporary, renewal Temporary, and new STR licenses within Mixed Use-1 and Mixed Use-2 zoning districts.
“For far too long, we’ve focused on making sure tourists are accommodated,” said District “B” Councilmember Jay H. Banks. “It’s never been more apparent that we need to switch up how we do things and accommodate our people first, which will, in turn, benefit the entire City of New Orleans. I understand that STRs are a hot-button issue, but the larger issue of affordable housing for our residents has to be addressed. STRs aren’t going to save our city, however, they aren’t going away. We have to accept the fact that they’re here while balancing the needs of our neighborhoods. My focus and purpose as a member of this Council is the residents and the citizens of this city, and that’s why I support these measures.”
"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."