NEW ORLEANS, LA—This week, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the Lot Next Door Ordinance revisions that will provide new rules and procedures for new Lot Next Door applications. The ordinance allows an eligible Lot Next Door buyer to purchase and redevelop a Lot Next Door property that shares a common boundary with their own. Previously, only residential lots directly adjacent to the shared property line were available for purchase.
“These changes will make it easier for eligible property owners who want to redevelop land and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods the ability to do so,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
“This opens the door for redevelopment of hundreds of vacant lots,” said Jeffrey Hebert, Executive Director of NORA. “NORA will work diligently and as quickly as possible to develop the rules and procedures for the program.”
The New Orleans City Council approved the Lot Next Door Ordinance revisions on February 21, 2013.
“We are pleased that the Lot Next Door program revisions will now open up opportunities for more people who are invested in a neighborhood, even if they did not meet all of the stringent requirements of the original program,” said City Council President Stacy Head. “We look forward to putting these former Road Home properties back into commerce.”
“I am excited about this opportunity to get more properties into the hands of residents,” said District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer. “Selling Lot Next Door property will put these lots back on the tax rolls, and build equity and wealth in our neighborhoods while alleviating the burden of the city having to maintain the properties.”
“This has always been a great ordinance and this is a major improvement that was needed,” said Councilmember-At-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson. “Thank you to both authors – Councilmembers Palmer and Head! However, we still have further to go to move property back into commerce and encourage homeownership.”
“Passing the Ordinance easing the rules for the Lot Next Door Program opens the program to many frustrated next door property owners who were ineligible under the former Ordinance,” said District A Councilmember Susan Guidry. “I look forward to seeing the results of the expanded program, which will reduce blight and put vacant properties back into commerce in District A neighborhoods and throughout the City.”
“The changes to the Lot Next Door program announced by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority are exciting and long overdue,” said District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell. “It’s great to see that the changes so many of us have fought for are coming to fruition. But we should be mindful that increasing the pool of potential property buyers is only one prong in what should be a multi-pronged strategy to reduce blight in our city. I look forward to the successful implementation of this new strategy and the development of new approaches to investing in the long-term health and stability of our neighborhoods.”
An eligible Lot Next Door buyer is any owner of a residentially zoned, permanent property that shares a common boundary with a Lot Next Door Property, does not owe property taxes or face tax liens, and is not in violation or default of any New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) program. Lot Next Door properties are those properties that were purchased by the State of Louisiana through the Road Home program and are currently owned and managed by NORA.
The former version of the program was running out of eligible buyers and this change helps continue and expand a very successful program that reduces blight, improves neighborhoods, and returns properties to the tax rolls.
Over the next few weeks, NORA will begin to publicly advertise the availability of every Lot Next Door property, as well as develop the rules and procedures for the program and publish them online at www.noraworks.org.
Eligible Lot Next Door buyers must notify NORA of their intent to purchase a Lot Next Door property in writing by August 1, 2013. NORA will sell the properties at fair market value. The Lot Next Door Program will officially end on January 1, 2014.
The Lot Next Door program was established by a New Orleans City Council Ordinance in 2007 to allow property owners to purchase former Louisiana Road Home properties located directly next door and return them back to commerce.