Council to reenact Pre-Katrina building codesMar 5th, 2012 | By admin | Category: News
During their February 23 meeting, the council introduced an ordinance to repeal a 2007 provision that requires new homes built on Katrina-destroyed property to have equal or greater square footage than the original structure, among other stipulations.
If officially repealed after the March 6 public hearing and council meeting, a less-restrictive, alternative ordinance passed in the months following Katrina would be reinstated.
That ordinance, passed Nov. 1, 2005, concisely states that all residences must “follow the building standards as administered by the Office of Community Development prior to Hurricane Katrina in order to maintain the integrity of the subdivision or neighborhood in which the residence is located.”
The St. Bernard Parish Director of Community Development, Candice Watkins, further explained that the rationale behind amending the current ordinance was to allow the parish to better enforce housing codes and permits.
“It’s a housekeeping issue,” said Watkins.
“This ordinance is unenforceable, as the Parish does not enforce restrictive covenants in subdivisions and cannot dictate what materials are used or how large a house has to be other than meeting the minimum size required in the definition of ‘dwelling unit’ and meet all building codes,” Watkins explained. “Therefore, we have asked the Council to repeal it. All building codes must still be met. This is a matter of state law as well as local law.”
Council Chair Guy McInnis reiterated that the intention of reinstating the 2005 ordinance is to get the building permit process back up to its original, pre-Katrina standards.
“The enforcement of neighborhood conformity rules and codes were lax after the storm, just as a means to just get people back to the neighborhoods and rebuilding,” said McGinnis. “The ordinance puts codes and permit policies back in line with what was going on before the storm.”
The council is set to vote on the ordinance amendment at the March 6 council meeting.