New Orleans Tears down Private Housing too
City inflating damage, lawsuit says
Houses are in line to be demolished
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
By Michelle Krupa
Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit that seeks to halt the demolition of nearly 2,000 privately owned properties condemned by City Hall allege that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's administration has systematically boosted the damage assessments of hundreds of the homes to expedite their razing.
Most of the properties are in areas where demolition permits normally cannot be issued without the consent of the Housing Conservation District Review Committee, a board charged with protecting structures across a broad swath of the city, according to a brief filed Monday.
The lawsuit alleges that in order to avoid appearing before the review panel, city officials in January began arbitrarily hiking the damage estimates of more than 300 properties to at least 70 percent.
Under an exception authorized by the City Council after
Hurricane Katrina, any property with a damage assessment of
70 percent or higher may be torn down without the
Local blogger , Alan Gutierrez, puzzled by this:
The Imminent Danger is the List Itself
The City of New
Orleans has a post-Katrina ordinance that calls for an Imminent Danger
list. Once a house is on this list it is supposed to be demolished in
30 days. These demolitions are funded by FEMA.
are great many structures in New Orleans that need to be demolished.
There are many people who are looking to build a new home, rather than
restore their flooded home. These people need demolition. Green light.
But, the city isn’t going after these houses. They have demolished
homes that people are rebuilding. They have demolished homes that
people have gutted and secured. They have placed houses on the Imminent
Danger list that are occupied.