Optimizing Blight Strategies

A previously blighted home on Verna Street.   photo by Charlie London
A previously blighted home on Verna Street.
photo by Charlie London
New Orleanians are rightfully concerned about blighted properties. Although blight has declined substantially since 2008 thanks to billions of federal housing dollars, New Orleans still has 43,755 blighted homes or empty lots. This 2010 report includes a review of economic and housing trends that are effecting blight, a broad set of principles to help guide various efforts to eliminate blight in New Orleans, and an analysis of neighborhood housing markets. Finally, this report provides recommendations for maximizing the potential of available resources for eliminating blight, including how neighborhood organizations can supplement public efforts.

Click here for the 2010 Report on
Optimizing Blight Strategies

NPP-CityNPP-CityBook

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

courtesy the Urban Conservancy
What’s Wrong with This Picture?  A Public Forum on Yard Paving
wrongExcessive paving in the required front and corner lot side yard areas, as well as public green spaces between sidewalk and street, is a growing concern in New Orleans. It can negatively impact property values, public safety and area drainage systems. The Urban Conservancy invites you to learn more about why excessive paving is occurring, what you can do about it, and mitigation techniques available to property owners. 
Please join us Thursday, March 13, from 5:30 – 7 pm at the Propeller Incubator, 4035 Washington Ave. for a discussion of this topic.

Kimberlye Hunicke, Licensed LA REALTOR, Urban Vision Properties LLC. Green Committee Chair, New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® (NOMAR)

Ramiro Diaz, Architectural Designer, Waggonner & Ball Architects
Jeff Supak, Wetlands Coordinator, Global Green
Travis Martin, Urban Conservancy Intern, Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning Candidate, University of New Orleans
For more information, call or email Dana Eness at 504-232-7821 or dana@urbanconservancy.org
UC Takes “Pave-o-Mania” to the Airwaves
On Feb. 15, Dana Eness and Kevin Fitzwilliam co-hosted the Urban Conservancy “All Things Local” radio show on WGSO 990AM with guests Ramiro Diaz, Kimberlye Hunicke, and Travis Martin to discuss negative impacts of excessive paving occurring on residential lots throughout New Orleans.  You can read Travis’ editorial in The Lens on the subject and listen to the podcast here.  Be sure to join us at the public forum on March 13 (see above) to learn more.

 

Fight Blight Saturday

april
GRAFFITI PROGRAM – Our InitiativeKnowing that graffiti adversely affects public perception, architectural significance and the general quality of life in the French Quarter, the FQBA has stepped up to initiate a community, business and citizen-based action plan to eradicate graffiti from the Vieux Carre. Partners in this initiative are resident groups French Quarter Citizens and Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents & Associates, Inc. “World’s Best Graffiti Removal System” has proven effective and is accepted by the Vieux Carre Commission (VCC).
Removal Methods
First, try using soap and water and a soft brush. If this does not work, use a VCC approved removal product that is appropriate for the surface. The “World’s best graffiti removal system” has been tested and determined safe on historical buildings, a permit is not required for small jobs. In many instances, you can use a graffiti removal product rather than paint.

NOTE:
PERMIT REQUIRED
You must have a permit from the Vieux Carre Commission Office to use chemicals or paint to remove graffiti. Applications for permits can be picked up in person at 334 Royal Street or downloaded off of:
http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx

WHAT IS GRAFFITI?

Graffiti is writing, drawings or symbols applied to any surface without the permission of the owner. To create graffiti, vandals use a variety of materials such as automotive car paint, spray paint, crayons and permanent ink. Vandals also etch surfaces as another way to destroy property.

Art or Graffiti?

The difference between art and graffiti is that art is done on property with permission of the property owner. Art is a creative and productive form of expression, whereas graffiti is a crime.

Why should I care about graffiti?

Graffiti is an act of vandalism. Not only is it unattractive, but it also lowers property values and encourages other types of crime in neighborhoods. By promptly removing graffiti, property owners can send a message to the people responsible for graffiti.

GRAFFITI PREVENTION TIPS

1. Maintain upkeep. An exterior appearance that suggests apathy and neglect attracts vandals.

2. Remove quickly. Studies show that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of reoccurrence.

3. Control access.

•Add or improve outside lighting to promote natural surveillance.
•Limit access to roofs by moving dumpsters away from walls and covering drain pipes.
•Incorporate shrubs, thorny plants, and vines to restrict vandal access.
4. Step up security.

•Employ graffiti resistant materials or coatings on a chronically hit wall.
•Do not allow a “legal wall,” or an area that permits graffiti, at your business; they are largely ineffective and may draw more graffiti vandals to the area.
•Organize a “Business Watch” with nearby merchants to keep tabs on a business area.
•Install some type of security camera.
•Employ security personnel to monitor property.
5. Work with the community.

•Inform VC-GAP and the city when graffiti appears on your property.
•Refrain from using graffiti images in ads or promoting graffiti in any way.
•Print graffiti prevention messages on bags, sales flyers, tray liners, book covers, calendars, and other promotional
items.
JOIN THE FIGHT!

Step 1: Record

If you see a graffiti crime in progress, please contact the New Orleans Police Department immediately at 504-822-1111. Please provide a complete description of the perpetrators and/or vehicles involved, including license plate numbers. Photograph the graffiti using a color camera (digital).

NEVER APPROACH OR CONFRONT THE VANDALS YOURSELF.

Step 2: Report

Graffiti vandalism is a crime. Report graffiti to New Orleans Crime Stoppers at crimestoppersgno.org or call the non-emergency number at 504-822-1111. Upload a photo of the tagging. Please keep copies of each photograph for your personal records. These photographs help the police identify local graffiti hot spots.

Step 3: Remove

Property and business owners understand that promptly removing graffiti reduces the chances of recurrence. Also, the sooner you remove graffiti, the easier it is to clean the damaged surface.

Relentless Bandit

Have you seen those Discount Tree Cutting signs? Those plywood signs that are 4 feet by 4 feet in size posted about 15-20 feet high on utility poles throughout the city? These signs have been diligently removed by citizens but this sign bandit continues to post them throughout the city despite warnings from officials. Many of the signs get put right back up where they were taken down.

It is against the law
to post signs like this.

The signs you see below and those signs you see stuck in the ground on city property and posted on utility poles throughout New Orleans are illegal and unnecessary. There are unused billboards throughout the city that could be used for advertising.

Read more about bandit signs in the link below:
https://fsjna.org/2011/08/city-to-bust-sign-bandits/

UPDATE DECEMBER 3rd

Many thanks to Ann MacDonald and the workers at Parks and Parkways who immediately took action on
some of the signs posted here Nov. 30th.

The complaint went out last Friday and 4 of the signs disappeared right away. There are still several of this sign bandit’s work around (see below) but Parks and Parkways is to be commended for their quick action.

Hopefully, the rest of these large signs will be removed soon!

Citizens have previously removed this sign at the busy intersection of Earhart and Claiborne yet this relentless bandit continues to put them up despite warnings from the city.

Are you tired of this nonsense? Then click on the link below and contact your city councilpeople. This bandit crosses council district lines.
http://nolacitycouncil.com/meet/meet.asp

This sign on Claiborne Avenue at Martin Luther King Blvd. was previously removed by citizens yet it continues to be replaced by this relentless sign bandit.

Are you tired of this nonsense? Then click on the link below and contact your city councilpeople. This bandit crosses council district lines.
http://nolacitycouncil.com/meet/meet.asp

This sign on Earhart at the entrance to the Broad Street overpass has been removed by citizens previously yet the sign is up again. The city has warned this bandit.
What’s it going to take for this to stop?

Are you tired of this nonsense? Then click on the link below and contact your city councilpeople. This bandit crosses council district lines.
http://nolacitycouncil.com/meet/meet.asp

Citizens have removed this sign from this exact same spot previously.
This relentless bandit has put up a new one.

The City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways removed this sign.


Citizens previously removed this sign in the middle of St. Bernard Avenue.
As you can see, it is up once again.

The City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways removed this sign.


This sign bandit is a creature of habit. Citizens have previously removed this sign from this location. You can see it is up once again right in front of Mossy Motors at 1331 South Broad.

The City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways removed this sign.


This sign bandit is a creature of habit. Citizens have previously removed this sign from this location. You can see it is up once again just steps from Liberty’s Kitchen at 422 South Broad.

The City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways removed this sign.

Be a Blight Czar

You can be the “Blight Czar”
for your neighborhood right at your computer.


Go to http://blightstatus.nola.gov and enter the name of any street in your area to see what’s been done about that blighted house down the block.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Maybe it wasn’t reported yet.
Click here –> http://blightstatus.nola.gov/pages/help
and
here –> https://fsjna.org/links/steps-to-stomp-out-blight/ to find out what to do.

DON’T BE “THAT GUY”
Lots of folks say they don’t have time. Someone else will do it. Well, those “someone elses” also have jobs, kids and are pressed for time. It’s up to YOU to take action to make your neighborhood better. Don’t be “that guy” that says he’s too busy.

People love to say, “there isn’t much blight in Faubourg St. John”. Why do you think that is? It’s not just because it is a great place to live and most folks are proud to live here, blight is reported and followed-up until it is gone.

Below are some examples of what you’ll find if you search at http://blightstatus.nola.gov You won’t just find the maps below but links on the addressess on the maps where you can click to find out more information. The arrows on the map are not the exact location but the general area. When you visit http://blightstatus.nola.gov and enter in a street, you will get exact addresses to click on for more information.

Check out the number of blighted property reports in Faubourg St. John on St. Ann Street alone!
2713 st ann street
2717 st ann street
2722 st ann street
2723 st ann street
2726 st ann street
2730 st ann street
2741 st ann street
2743 st ann street
2746 st ann street
2750 st ann street
2751 st ann street
2753 st ann street
2754 st ann street
2755 st ann street
2800 st ann street
2801 st ann street
2804 st ann street
2809 st ann street
2816 st ann street
2821 st ann street
2824 st ann street
2832 st ann street
2912 st ann street
2920 st ann street
2921 st ann street
2931 st ann street
2936 st ann street
3007 st ann street
3009 st ann street
3027 st ann street
3030 st ann street
3034 st ann street
3035 st ann street
3038 st ann street
3042 st ann street
3053 st ann street
3062 st ann street
3108 st ann street
3110 st ann street
3118 st ann street
3205 st ann street
3219 st ann street
3229 st ann street
3303 st ann street

BlightStatus Arrives

Click here to view the City’s presentation at today’s BlightStat meeting.
<a href="http://blightstatus.nola.gov/">MAYOR LANDRIEU, CODE FOR AMERICA TO UNVEIL NEW TECHNOLOGY TO TRACK BLIGHTED PROPERTIES</a>

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MAYOR LANDRIEU, CODE FOR AMERICA TO UNVEIL NEW TECHNOLOGY TO TRACK BLIGHTED PROPERTIES

NEW ORLEANS, LA—October 11, 2012 | Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Code for America (CFA) will announce the launch of BlightStatus, a new interactive tool for residents to track the progress of blighted properties within the code Enforcement system in New Orleans.

Nearly two years ago, Mayor Landrieu announced a new, aggressive blight strategy aimed at reducing the blight count in New Orleans by 10,000 properties by 2014. A recent study released by The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center showed that blighted properties have been reduced by approximately 8,000 addresses since 2010. The study attributed the reduction in part to the focused efforts of City agencies to bring properties into compliance.

Neighborhood groups and engaged citizens have always been a crucial partner in the city’s fight against blight, and now, with the launch of BlightStatus, they will have access to previously inaccessible City data about the status of blighted properties. Easy access to this information will reduce barriers to participation in public blight hearings, and improve the quality of the interactions between the City and the community in the common goal of blight eradication.

WHO: Mayor Mitch Landrieu
Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin
City officials
Code for America team

WHAT: Launch of BlightStatus, a new interactive tool for residents to track the progress of blighted
properties within the Code Enforcement system in New Orleans

WHEN: Thursday, October 11, 2012
1:00 PM

WHERE: 1708 St. Roch Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70117

###

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    BlightSTATUS makes it simple for residents to find out what’s going on with blighted properties in their community – no long waits on the telephone or visits to City Hall required.
    A great example of government transparency at work, BlightSTATUS pulls up-to-date property information directly from the City’s official records, providing a single, comprehensive and authoritiative view to the public for the very first time.









    Write to neworleans@codeforamerica.org for more information.





    http://blightstatus.nola.gov/

    For decades residents have asked for easy access to information on the status of blighted buildings, and now we’re delivering. BlightStatus is a new interactive online tool for residents to track the progress of blighted properties within the Code Enforcement system in New Orleans.

    Anyone with an Internet connection can visit http://blightstatus.nola.gov to:

    •search for any property to view its case history in a clear and simple format;
    •create a “watchlist” to track the progress of multiple properties;
    •receive email alerts whenever a property on your “watchlist” moves forward in the blight process;
    •analyze blight citywide or down to the block level using interactive maps and charts; and
    •learn more about the blight process itself at the Help Center
    Reducing blight citywide is a top priority of my administration. Blight threatens our safety, the value of our homes, our quality of life and our environment. Nearly two years ago, we announced a new, aggressive blight strategy aimed at reducing the blight count in New Orleans by 10,000 properties by 2014. A recent study released by The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center showed that blighted properties have been reduced by approximately 8,000 addresses since 2010. The study attributed the reduction in part to the focused efforts of City agencies to bring properties into compliance by prioritizing aggressive code enforcement and code lien foreclosure sales.

    Recently, the City’s blight strategy was named a 2012 Bright Idea in Government by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and was awarded the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award at the 2012 Council on Philanthropy Conference for its public-philanthropic partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF), the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and the Center for Community Progress (CCP).

    This is a major step forward in reducing barriers to public participation in blight hearings, and improving the quality of the interactions between the City and the community in the common goal of eliminating blight.

    Sincerely,
    Mitchell J. Landrieu
    Mayor
    City of New Orleans

    BlightStat Gets National Recognition

    NEW ORLEANS, LA — Today, the City of New Orleans announced that its Blight Reduction Strategy has been named a 2012 Bright Idea in Government by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The Bright Ideas initiative is designed to recognize and promote creative government initiatives and partnerships and create an online community where innovative ideas can be proposed, shared, and disseminated.

    “We are thrilled that our aggressive blight reduction strategy is being recognized on a national stage,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.  “When I came into office, I knew we needed a better way to track data on blight progress to ensure we were actually achieving results.  BlightStat is one way we’re making that happen.  And this award is an acknowledgement that the work is paying off.”

    Nearly two years ago, Mayor Landrieu announced a new, aggressive blight strategy aimed at reducing the blight count in New Orleans by 10,000 properties by 2014. A recent study released by The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center showed that blighted properties have been reduced by by approximately 8,000 addresses since 2010. The study attributed the reduction in part to the focused efforts of City agencies to bring properties into compliance.

    The City’s Blight Reduction Strategy aims to significantly reduce blighted properties by prioritizing aggressive code enforcement and code lien foreclosure sales. The BlightStat public performance management system aggressively manages and tracks the benchmarks outlined in the strategy. In these public meetings, senior staff meets with front-line department heads and program managers to discuss progress in meeting goals through the analysis of performance metrics. These are working meetings, intended to provoke constructive dialogue on what’s working, what’s not, and what the various City departments and agencies need to do to improve.

    “This is a strategy that only works with a dedicated staff and ongoing community partnerships,” said First Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin. “I want to congratulate and thank Jeff Hebert, Oliver Wise and the whole team who are out on the front line fighting blight in this city every day.”

    Additionally, the City’s Blight Reduction Strategy was awarded the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award at the 2012 Council on Philanthropy Conference for its public-philanthropic partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF), the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and the Center for Community Progress (CCP).  Through this partnership, New Orleans is developing a national model for dealing with blight. Cities from across Louisiana and the country are working to replicate the success of New Orleans.

    Jeff Hebert, Executive Director, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and Oliver Wise, Director, Office of Performance and Accountability, City of New Orleans are 2012 recipients of the Innovation Award from the Bureau of Governmental Research. The Innovation Award recognizes employees who have used innovative solutions to solve pressing problems.

    The BlightStat program, along with QualityofLifeStat, ReqtoCheckStat and BottomlineStat are examples of Mayor Landrieu’s commitment to accountability, transparency, and data-driven management. Coupled with the quarterly ResultsNOLA report cards for City departments’ key performance indicators, the Landrieu administration is implementing performance management initiatives designed to improve results to citizens.

    To learn more, visit the website of the Office of Performance and Accountability, the team created by Mayor Landrieu to implement a performance management system in City Hall: www.nola.gov/opa.   

    Link to full Bright Ideas Program Descriptions:
    http://www.ash.harvard.edu/Home/News-Events/Press-Releases/Innovations/Harvard-Announces-111-Bright-Ideas-in-Government/2012-Bright-Ideas

    Code for America

    Jennifer Pahlka talks about Code for America. A Code for America team is currently working on the BLIGHT STATUS website.

    BLIGHT STATUS AVAILABLE OCTOBER 11th

    BlightSTATUS makes it simple for residents to find out what’s going on with blighted properties in their community – no long waits on the telephone or visits to City Hall required.

    A great example of government transparency at work, BlightSTATUS pulls up-to-date property information directly from the City’s official records, providing a single, comprehensive and authoritiative view to the public for the very first time.

    Above you can see the type of information that will be available after October 11th. The blight status website is not to be used currently for gathering information. This graphic is provided to you as a “sneek peek” of the type of information that will be available once the Blight Status website is fully functional.


    Click HERE or on any graphic for a “sneek preview” of the Blight Status website.









    Write to neworleans@codeforamerica.org for more information.





    http://blightstatus.nola.gov/