Adjudication of non-blight code violations resumes after year-long hiatus
17th June 2013 · 0 Comments
By Karen Gadbois
The city’s much-touted One Stop Shop for adjudication of housing and zoning code violations stirred to life June 7, ending a year in which non-blight code enforcement all but ceased.
The 2 ½-hour meeting on the seventh floor of City Hall was the first since the Department of Safety and Permits merged its adjudication processes with those of three city agencies: the Historic District Landmarks, City Planning and Vieux Carre commissions — under the One Stop Shop banner which was raised aloft in March.
The Lens has been asking city officials for months why adjudication was dormant and when it would resume. Officials had provided no answer and Friday’s session was not advertised publicly.
Several cases of demolition by neglect made the meeting’s 11-item agenda as did unfinished building projects, notable among them the property that houses The Spotted Cat nightclub.
Other concerns ranged from illegal short-term rentals, to a residence allegedly being operated illegally as a boarding house — plus the inevitable paved front yard.
The case of the paved front yard drew the biggest crowd: three neighbors and a representative of the neighborhood organization.
Adrian Illies, owner of the property at 1530 Washington Ave. claimed the traffic congestion on his street necessitated turning his front yard into a parking lot. He said delivery trucks and tour guides for the nearby cemetery were parking on the city-owned strip of land between the sidewalk and the street, leaving him no choice.
Shelley Landrieu, executive director of the Garden District Association, told Illies that neighborhood group appreciates that he has been working on the house for some time. But “we need to maintain the green space in the Garden District,” she said of a paving job well in excess of the 40 percent maximum allowed in such a space.
Illies argued that “the area looks better and cleaner” now that he has paved it. “I will pay a fine if I have to,” he said.
And indeed he will — once he also digs up the illegal paving job.
This article originally published in the June 17, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.