As a real estate boom makes affordable housing increasingly hard to find in New Orleans, the City Council is experimenting with new zoning strategies aimed at giving developers an incentive to include space for low-income residents in their projects.This "strategy" (again, it's really just a token conciliation) is already not working in other cities with a similar problem.
The council made its most recent move Thursday (July 23) when it approved a rule that allows apartment developers to build on smaller lots in exchange for including some units set aside for low-income residents. The bonus would be available in any district that allows multifamily units, including most of Treme, Faubourg Marigny and Bywater.
Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who has been increasingly vocal about the need to mitigate the displacement associated with gentrification, sponsored the new rule, calling the amendment a good "first step" and saying that other zoning changes are in the works.
"Everyone in New Orleans knows that we are in the midst of an affordability crisis," Cantrell said.
It won't work here either. But, from the city's point of view, the point is not to pass something that actually works. The point is to appear as though they tried something. Here's a "best practice." Let's throw this at it.