City Council Regular Meeting News Summary

Thursday, October 20, 2022


NEW ORLEANS - At its regular meeting today, the New Orleans City Council passed legislation to pause short-term rental expansion, proposed new signage requirements for short-term rentals and requested longer and more inclusive parental leave for City employees.


The Council also authorized a CEA between the Mayor and BioDistrict New Orleans, proposed salary increases for NOFD and established regulations on City contract assignment. 


As part of today’s special orders of business, the Council heard from youth advocates about Youth Justice Action Month, celebrated annually in October to encourage action, raise awareness and educate the public about the impact of the justice system on children. The Council also received a presentation from local radio stations WWOZ, WRBH, WHIV, WWNO and WTUL, recognizing their role in preserving the music and culture of New Orleans. The presentation posthumously honored several deceased DJs for their years of contributions.


The Council also presented a resolution to the family of John L. McKnight, Jr., honoring his life and legacy. McKnight was an elementary school teacher, a Booker T. Washington High School and Tulane University graduate, and a Vietnam War veteran. A community activist extraordinaire, McKnight led the fight for recovery when Thompson Hayward Chemical Company was identified as a health risk. He also secured a grant to rehabilitate dilapidated homes in Gert Town and provided affordable housing to the community through his efforts. 

Council Passes Legislation to Pause Short-Term Rental Expansion in Response to Fifth Circuit Ruling


The Council passed Motion M-22-467 directing the City Planning Commission (CPC) to conduct a public hearing to establish a new Interim Zoning District (IZD) called the "Residential Short Term Rental Interim Zoning District." 


The IZD comes in response to a recent federal appeals court ruling that struck down a City rule mandating a valid homestead exemption for residential short-term rentals (STRs). The mandate, which aimed to ensure owner accountability and presence in residential neighborhoods, was a critical component of the Council’s 2019 STR reform legislation.


The new IZD proposed today is part of a package of legislative instruments the Council will consider to ensure the City’s STR system complies with the federal court requirements while protecting neighborhoods from excessive STR development as the Council develops new STR rules.


Today's motion removes language in a previous IZD Motion, which extended permits expiring between the date of that IZD and March 1, thereby causing those permits to expire. Per the new IZD, other permits with an expiration date in 2023 will expire on their natural expiration date, and no new applications for residential short-term rental permits will be accepted. 


“It is the intent of this Council on March 1 to have a replacement short-term rental ordinance that will address the issues that have plagued STRs for years while acknowledging the decision of the Fifth Circuit on how we define STRs," Council Vice President Morrell stated. 

Council Proposes New Signage Requirements for Short-Term Rental Properties and Waives Neighborhood Participation Program


The Council passed Motion M-22-418 on September 15, 2022, directing the CPC to conduct a public hearing to consider the requirement of visibly displayed signage at short-term rental properties. With today's Motion M-22-455the Council waived the Project Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) requirement of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance for zoning text amendments and restated its directive for CPC to consider STR signage.


If passed, STRs will be required to permanently and conspicuously display their permits on the front of their properties. The signage would contain the permit number, occupancy limit, permit type and contact information for the owner or operator.

 

“If you have a problematic short-term rental in your area, it’s very difficult to identify, track down and contact the owner or operator responsible for it,” Council Vice President Morrell added.


Councilmember Morrell explained that the waiver of the NPP is meant to expedite CPC's process when considering the STR signage requirement.

Council Requests Longer, More Inclusive Parental Leave for City Employees


The Council passed Motion M-22-457 requesting that the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) and the Civil Service Commission evaluate and amend their parental leave rules, regulations and policies for pregnancy, childbirth and adoption. 


Parental leave is critical in creating healthy families and ensuring positive outcomes for children and parents. It minimizes financial stress and allows parents to focus on bonding with their children. On the employer side, paid parental leave results in higher retention, better work morale and increased productivity, offsetting the costs associated with providing the leave. 


Compared to the paid parental leave under the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA), which is twelve weeks, the current City policies fall short. In addition, the CAO and Civil Service rules fail to account for the true range of parental and gender identifiers, including the recognition that transgender and non-binary individuals may give birth to a child. 

Council Authorizes CEA for BioDistrict New Orleans Development


The Council passed Ordinance 33,936 authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) between the City and BioDistrict New Orleans to use incremental increases in undedicated taxes collected within the boundaries of the District to induce economic development and other activities necessary for the enhancement of biosciences, academic medicine and health products. 


Combined with additional investments, the dollars will create a hub of bioscience research and entrepreneurship, creating jobs and attracting new businesses. 


“We’ve had many meetings about this CEA to add additional oversight and accountability measures,” said Council President Helena Moreno. “We have withdrawn legislation many times due to public input, but I feel comfortable moving forward today. It’s been a long process, but now we have the right checks and balances in place." 

Map courtesy of the BioDistrict Board.

New Salary Considerations for All Levels of NOFD


The Council passed Ordinance 33,904 requiring the Department of City Civil Service to evaluate and provide recommendations to the Civil Service Commission and the Council relative to amending the Classified Pay Plan to increase to market rate the minimum annual salary of all fire classes coded to the Fire Department. 


“These first responders are some of the lowest paid City employees we have, and it’s time for that to change,” said District 'B' Councilmember Lesli Harris. “NOFD plays an important role, not just when it comes to fires. They are often the first to respond in cases where NOPD or EMS is needed, and some make a base salary of less than $15 an hour." 

Regulations on City Contract Transfers Move Forward

 

The Council passed Ordinance 33,935 requiring Council approval of assignments and transfers of City contracts. The Ordinance prevents recipients of City contracts from passing them off to third parties without approval and public oversight, even if a third party is willing to step in and complete the work.

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Media Contact:

Paul Harang

Chief of Staff

(504) 658-1101

Paul.Harang@nola.gov

New Orleans City Council
The New Orleans City Council is the legislative branch of the New Orleans city government. The Council considers and enacts all local laws that govern the City of New Orleans. The Council also approves the operating and capital budgets for the City, as recommended by the mayor, and continually monitors revenues and expenditures for local government operations. The City Council is also the regulatory body for public utilities. It also reviews and has the final say on many land use and zoning matters, as well as considers major economic development projects for the City. As a Board of Review for Orleans Parish, the Council examines appeals of property tax assessments for real estate taxes and certifies tax rolls to the Louisiana Tax Commission. Other responsibilities of the Council include overseeing the operation of the public access television in Orleans Parish. Streaming video and video archives of the City Council's Regular and Committee meetings can be found on the City Council website.

The City Council is comprised of five districts and Councilmembers-at-large: Council President and Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno; Council Vice President and Councilmember-At-Large JP Morrell; District "A" Councilmember Joseph I. Giarrusso, III; District "B" Councilmember Lesli D. Harris; District "C" Councilmember Freddie King III; District "D" Councilmember Eugene J. Green, Jr.; and District "E" Councilmember Oliver M. Thomas, Jr.
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