Week in Review, Feb. 26-March 1: STR Ruling, Avondale, EV Batteries

NEW ORLEANS — On Feb. 28, a federal judge issued a ruling that upheld short-term rental regulations enacted by the City of New Orleans in 2023. That decision could end a five-month period when there was essentially no oversight of individuals or companies renting private homes or rooms for brief periods (less than a month) on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle is a win for the New Orleans City Council, affordable housing advocates and others opposed to the short-term rental industry. Many in that camp complain that the rise of short-term rentals has spiked housing costs and damaged quality of life in neighborhoods, especially in the city’s popular tourist areas.

Lemelle’s decision will likely be appealed by the plaintiffs, led by lawyer Dawn Wheelahan. In the meantime, the city is free to enforce rules passed in 2023 that limit the number of short-term rentals allowed in residential neighborhoods and bans corporate ownership of rentals. The rules only apply to properties with residential zoning.

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“We’ve been fighting from the beginning to stop corporations from taking over our residential neighborhoods, and this ruling vindicates our efforts to protect New Orleanians,” said Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno in an email statement. “The ruling upholds and endorses our reasonable regulations on STRs we instituted last year and I appreciate the court’s careful consideration of this case.”

Meanwhile, Avondale Global Gateway has a new and improved gateway.

Host, the logistic hub’s owner, joined economic development officials and elected leaders for a Feb. 27 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility’s new $2 million gate complex, which features new scales and an improved gatehouse to help reduce the time it takes for trucks to come and go.

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The project was supported by $1.5 million in Louisiana State Capital Outlay funding though a partnership with Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commision (JEDCO), which served as the public entity sponsor for the project. Host contributed $500,000.

“To have an effective shipping terminal, you need to move trucks in and out of here as best as you can,” said Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng at the event. “Time is money. So the new scale house, foundation, utilities and drainage are going to directly improve throughput and turnaround time. And obviously, that is very critical.”

Here are more of the week’s top business stories:

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