Determination of Non-Conforming Status
Pursuant to Article 25 of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the City of New Orleans, as amended, non-conforming uses are contrary to the principles of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance; Section 25.3.A of the CZO requires the Department of Safety and Permits to view claims of legal, non-conforming status narrowly and to “have all doubts resolved against the continuation or expansion of non-conformit[ies] in order to preserve the property rights of adjacent property owners.”
The Department of Safety and Permits has standardized the process for evaluation of such uses and created a list of standard documents which will generally provide the required information to make a formal determination on the legal status of a non-conformity. The full Departmental Policy Memorandum is provided here.
All of the following information and documentation shall be required, as applicable, to determine and verify the legality of non-conforming uses:
- An application for Determination of Non-Conforming Status providing a brief description of the determination sought.
- A timeline, to the best of the applicant’s ability, detailing the periods of use and vacancy of the subject property.
- The owner must furnish a notarized affidavit indicating that the property has not been vacant for a period of six (6) months or longer.
- Notarized affidavits from neighbors or other individuals with knowledge of occupancy or operation of the subject property should also be provided to the Department, outlining the use of the property, periods of occupancy and/or vacancy, and any other information relevant to the determination being sought.
- The owner/applicant must provide a current copy (or most recent) occupational license, alcoholic beverage license, mayoralty permit, or other authorization to conduct business, issued by the Bureau of Revenue, for any commercial uses(s) located on the property.
- The owner/applicant must provide current/most recent leases and/or rent receipts for tenants to demonstrate continued occupancy and operation.
- The owner/applicant must provide records from utility companies:
- Entergy: Provide documentation from Entergy indicating electric/natural gas usage for the past 12-months for all meters on the property.
- Sewerage and Water Board: Provide the number of meters, date(s) installed, rate type, sanitation charges, and water usage for the past 12-months for all meters on the property.
- For non-conforming residential and commercial uses, the owner/applicant must provide a floor plan of the building, indicating the use of each room and photographs documenting such uses.
- For non-conforming Bed and Breakfasts or hotels, any records identifying the number of rooms which have been offered for rent.
- For non-conforming parking lots, the owner/applicant must submit a map or survey indicating the boundaries of the property with all improvements (valet/payment shelters, fencing, lighting, signage, and landscaping, etc.) and striping, with dimensions.
- Any other information or documentation which provides additional support for the claim of non-conforming status should be included with the application in addition to the documents requested herein. The list of submissions provided in this document is not meant to be exhaustive; the Department will evaluate any evidence submitted relative to a Determination request.
Providing this information as part of an application for review does not guarantee that the Department will approve or confirm the legality of the non-conformity. Safety and Permits may require additional documentation to supplement the information required above, and the Department will verify the provided information against the City’s records relative to the specific property. The Department may request the property to be made available for inspection to verify any claims made or documentation provided in support of a request for determination.
Once a completed application is received, the Zoning Administration Division will review all documentation and provide a report to the Director of Safety and Permits with a recommendation as to whether the documentation provided supports the retention or attainment of Legal, Non-Conforming Status pursuant to R.S. 9:5625. The Director makes the final determination as to the non-conforming status of the property based on the information provided to the department. Any party aggrieved by a decision of the Director of Safety and Permits with respect to the application of the Comprehenzive Zoning Ordinance may be appealed to the Board of Zoning Adjustments within 45-days of the decision.