Friday, March 17, 2017

Enjoy your tax-free balconies

The city has agreed to hold off on the "air tax" for a while. At least until "we can figure out what is going on" or until something else captures people's attention.
New Orleans will hold off on charging property owners for balconies, galleries, steps and other architectural features that hang over city sidewalks, administration officials said Friday.

The fight over whether property owners have to pay for the "air rights" for portions of their building that are above city property began in late 2015, when Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration began aggressively enforcing a policy that had been on the books for decades.

All of a sudden, property owners who went to the city to pull permits were forced to agree to sign agreements that in some cases promised to pay thousands of dollars a year to lease those features, even ones that dated back centuries or predated the city streets themselves.

The issue has been particularly acute in the French Quarter, though properties citywide have been affected.
I dunno... speaking as someone who does not and is not likely to own this kind of fancy property, I can't say I'm all that worried about those who can afford to pay such a tax.  On the other hand, if you are looking for a policy likely to make the city's architecture less attractive, this is probably a good one for that. 

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