Councilmember Touts Amendments to Increase Affordable Housing

NEW ORLEANS — At the New Orleans City Council’s May 2nd meeting, District B Councilmember Lesli Harris passed two zoning amendments that she said will reduce barriers for developers and support the construction of more affordable housing units across the city. 

Motion M-24-211 amends the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to permit by-right dwellings above the ground floor in many commercial and institutional zoning districts.

Harris said many historic and suburban non-residential zoning districts already permit above-the-ground dwelling units by right. However, mixed-use developments in certain zoning districts require developers to go through the conditional use process to allow dwelling units above the ground floor to create mixed-use developments. Other districts do not permit dwellings above the ground floor at all. 

- Sponsors -

Harris said the May 2 amendment will align the land use regulations for dwellings above the ground floor with existing zoning permissions for multifamily housing, while also permitting by right above-ground residential units within mixed-use developments in more intense commercial and institutional zoning districts. She said the changes are expected to increase affordable housing units.

In a separate motion (M-24-200), the Council approved Councilmember Harris’ CZO amendment to update small multi-family affordable (SMFA) regulations, so that these developments can be spread across two detached structures on one lot. The SMFA use was created in 2022 as another way to encourage the creation of more affordable housing, through low density fourplexes that must include at least one affordable unit. Only eight of these projects have been created since then.  

Developers note one significant barrier to their development: the International Building Code requires that three- and four-unit developments include commercial sprinklers, which are cost prohibitive. By allowing SMFAs to be spread across two units on one lot of records, Harris said today’s change will allow developers to immediately move forward with affordable housing projects without including sprinklers.

- Partner Content -

Entergy’s Energy Smart Program Brings Cost Conscious Innovation to New Orleans

Offering comprehensive energy efficiency at no cost to the consumer, Entergy’s Energy Smart program incentivizes Entergy New Orleans customers to perform energy-saving upgrades in...

Harris also announced that Odyssey House Louisiana will be the new operator of the city’s Low Barrier Shelter. 

“With over 50 years of experience in behavioral and mental health for the unhoused, Odyssey House Louisiana will be an excellent operator of the Low Barrier facility,” Harris said in a statement. “Currently, OHL provides holistic treatment to clients, allowing them to be active participants in their healing process. This innovative act is paramount for our unhoused community who often face trauma due to homelessness. OHL has a strong record of ensuring their clients receive the stability they need for permanent housing.” 

Digital Sponsors / Become a Sponsor

Follow the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in New Orleans.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter