Regular Meeting

April 10, 2014 

City Council Chamber

City Council Regular Meeting News Summary April 10, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council adopted an ordinance establishing a domicile requirement exemption for public safety officers. The Council also passed a motion supporting the redefining of Transient Vacation Rentals in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The Council passed resolutions supporting new construction at Louis Armstrong International Airport, and pushing for reinstatement of the Direct Homebuyer Assistance Program.

In other business, the Council passed a resolution supporting the Advocacy Center. The Council also honored the recipient of the 2014 Friends of the Implemented Pest Management Implementer Award and the retiring Executive Director of the Metropolitan Human Services District.

Lastly, the Council convened an Executive Session to discuss the following three matters of litigation:

  • Herman v. City of New Orleans, Civil District Court No. 2014-896;
  • Herman v. Tracage Development, Civil District Court No. 2006-2224;
  • New Orleans Firefighters Pension and Relief Fund v. City of New Orleans, Civil District Court No. 2012-7061.

Established Domicile Requirement Exemption for Public Safety Officers

The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 30,070, coauthored by Councilmembers Guidry and Clarkson, to amend the City Code relative to the domicile requirement for City employees to establish an exemption of the domicile requirement for New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers, New Orleans Fire Department firefighters, and Emergency Medical Service emergency medical technicians. Specifically, this City Code amendment will exempt these public safety officers from the city's law requiring city employees to live in Orleans Parish.

The City Council's adopted 2014 budget includes funding for five NOPD recruit classes, and the police department has begun an aggressive recruitment campaign. However, NOPD has experienced difficulty in locating a sufficient number of qualified applicants to fill these classes and the domicile rule has been cited as a barrier to recruitment. The exemption will significantly widen the potential pool of applicants for these positions.

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas and Deputy Mayor of Public Safety and Homeland Security Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed appeared before the Council to answer questions and provide information about ongoing recruitment and retention efforts.

District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The reduction in the number of police officers and other first responders is a public safety crisis that must be dealt with as quickly as possible. This ordinance is the first step in a process of removing unnecessary barriers to recruitment. And while I intend to look at ways to make living in Orleans Parish a more affordable option for our first responders, we are simply not in a position to mandate that they do so."

Council President Clarkson said, "Since Katrina, we have been a cooperative, cohesive metro region. This legislation now enables us to recruit already trained law enforcement officers as lateral hires from around the region to become part of our NOPD!"

Recognized Outreach Efforts of Advocacy Center

The Council passed Resolution R-14-134, authored by Councilmember Cantrell, supporting the legislative agenda of the Advocacy Center and the continued and expanded state funding of its Supported Independent Living Advocacy Program, which supports adults with disabilities living independently in the community. Representatives of the Advocacy Center appeared before the Council to be recognized for the organization's work on behalf of individuals with disabilities. 


Organized in 1978 and based in New Orleans, the Advocacy Centeris a statewide nonprofit that provides educational, empowerment, and advocacy services for people with disabilities, group home and nursing home residents, and the elderly. The Advocacy Center also focuses on legislative advocacy and the representatives outlined the organization's priorities for and its stances on various bills being considered during the legislative session.


The Advocacy Center is supporting several items of legislation in the 2014 legislative session intended to maintain and improve the well-being of Louisiana's elderly and disabled residents including:

  •   Senate Bill 355 by Senator Fred H. Mills, Jr. allowing for a vote in the November 2014 election on a state constitutional amendment supporting protections for funding of critical services for people with disabilities and seniors;   
  •  House Bill 199 by Representative Badon and Senate Bill 164 by Senator Murray to protect against unjust discrimination in state laws by adding disability and aging protections and to expand existing protections to include people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness regarding issues of licensure, insurance, real estate activities, income tax credits, higher education and housing.

District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "The Advocacy Center helps those who are most in need of support and protection. We are proud to support the group's legislative priorities and the continued and expanded funding of the Advocacy Center's important programming."

Endorsed New Construction at Airport

The Council passed Resolution R-14-117, coauthored by Councilmembers Hedge-Morrell, Clarkson, and Head, supporting the construction of "fly over" ramps to provide direct access to the Louis Armstrong International Airport planned north terminal complex from I-10 East and I-10 West.

The construction is to be completed in or before 2022 and the Council urges all responsible agencies and parties to ensure that studies, designs, financing requirements and construction begin without delay.

District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "We are very excited about these planned enhancements to the airport. The new construction will improve accessibility and ensure that our airport can operate efficiently."

Pushed for Reinstatement of Homebuyer Assistance Program

The Council passed Resolution R-14-120, authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, calling on the state of Louisiana to provide Orleans Parish with additional funding from the federal Disaster Community Block Grant to reinstate the Direct Homebuyer Assistance Program to help families purchase their first single family home in New Orleans.

Implemented by the City in 2011, the Direct Homebuyer Assistance Program assisted families to purchase homes through 10-year forgivable loans, with 25% of the "soft second" loan forgiven after 5 years and an additional 15% per year thereafter until the end of the loan's term. The program, which was funded by federal Disaster Community Block Grant dollars provided by the State for housing recovery following Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac, successfully assisted 437 home purchases by first-time homebuyers. In an effort to stabilize blighted communities, the program requires homebuyers to reside in the purchased home for a minimum of 5 years.

District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "This program not only empowers our residents to invest in our City by purchasing a home, but it also helps us to revitalize blighted neighborhoods. The more New Orleanians who have access to the benefits of this program, the better."

Honored Recipient of Pest Management Implementer Award

Director of the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite & Rodent Control Board Dr. Claudia Riegel appeared before the Council to be congratulated for the board's receipt of the 2014 Friends of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Implementer Award.  The Council also presented Dr. Riegel with a Proclamation recognizing her for her many accomplishments and ongoing dedication to the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite & Rodent Control Board. 
The award recognizes the leadership of Riegel and her team in the implementation of IPM in a majority of city buildings and in some schools across New Orleans. In 2008, Riegel instituted a citywide IPM program which included an initiative to reduce vermin and other pests through the reduction of clutter and regular property maintenance as an alternative to the use of chemical control.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "I have had the honor of working with Claudia over the years and she is one of the best managers working in city government. I have seen first-hand how her dedication and high standard of performance inspires and motivates her department to do their best work for the people of New Orleans." 

Received Presentation from Metropolitan Human Services District

Retiring Executive Director of the Metropolitan Human Services District (MHSD) Calvin Johnson appeared before the Council to give an overview of the MHSD's ongoing services and plans for future programming and to introduce incoming MHSD Executive Director Yolanda Webb. Additionally, the Council presented Mr. Johnson with a Proclamation honoring him for his years of dedicated service.

The MHSD was created by the Louisiana Legislature in 2003 to provide community-based mental health, addictive disorders, and developmental disabilities services for adults, children and families of Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes.

Council President Clarkson said, "Calvin Johnson was a great judge, who in his retirement steered our MHSD into becoming a role model prototype for our state to provide emergency mental health services. We are so very thankful to him for his leadership and service!" 

Supported Redefinition of Transient Vacation Rentals in CZO

The Council passed Motion M-14-116, coauthored by Councilmembers Clarkson and Head, directing the City Planning Commission (CPC) to conduct a public hearing to consider an amendment to the City's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to redefine "Transient Vacation Rentals." With this Motion, the Council intends to clarify this definition in order to ensure fair, effective, and efficient enforcement of the law.

The definition of "Transient Vacation Rentals" being proposed by the Council is:

"Rentals in a dwelling, hotel, motel, timeshare building, motor lodge, boarding and lodging home, trailer, tourist court of tourist home to nonresidents with duration of occupancy of less than 30 days."

In the process of studying and reviewing the proposed amendment, the CPC is directed to make all appropriate changes to the proposal and any existing corresponding regulations in the CZO to establish consistency and continuity, and clarify any ambiguities or mistakes. In the event that the CPC develops a new definition for "Transient Vacation Rentals," they will recommend this new definition to the Council for approval at a future Council meeting.

Council President Clarkson said, "In the past, we enforced transient vacation rentals through the courts, but now we are considering enforcement through our zoning code with administrative adjudication for more effective enforcement. It begins with the proper redefinition of transient vacation rentals to remove an ambiguity that has long hindered our enforcement."

Created on: 6/21/2018 11:34:18 AM | Last updated: 6/21/2018 11:34:18 AM


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