by Charlie London
This was the 32nd BlightStat meeting to which the public was invited.
BlightStat 32 | March 8, 2012
Mr. Oliver Wise began the meeting by introducing Mr. Anthony Faciane as the new Director of Neighborhood Development.
Mr. Jeff Hebert is now the Executive Director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority. Mr. David Lessinger now also works with Mr. Hebert at NORA.
Lestin Morgan is now with the Office of Performance and Accountability.
Mr. Wise announced that 1,000 hits were received on information about BlightStat. Slideshows of BlightStat presentations are now appearing on the city’s website.
Kirsten Melberg has been hired to work with the NORA team.
Ms. Pura Bascos began the meeting by reviewing the “Inspections by Type and Result” indicating she was satisfied with the numbers.
Mr. Wise followed up by noting the continued emphasis on compliance.
Ms. Bascos moved on to the “Timeliness of Inspections” slide indicating that continued focus is being maintained on getting inspections done.
Mr. Wise asked, “How do you know what to prioritize?”
Mr. Reid replied that sweeps are part of the process.
Mr. Square indicated that the “Service Level Agreement” notation on the slide should be rephrased as “target” because SLA indicates a guarantee.
Mr. Winston Reid indicated the Hollygrove area has a large concentration of blight. The City is focusing on this area now.
Ms. Illarmo review the “Timeliness of Hearings Process” slide. She indicated that Mardi Gras did not have much of an effect on results.
Mr. Wise inquired if there are any problems getting hearings done.
Ms. Illarmo indicated that research continues to be a challenge but the job is getting done.
Mr. Wise inquired about using Bar Association lawyers for hearings. Ms. Breaux indicated she will be meeting with them soon.
Ms. Illarmo reviewed the “Distribution of Hearings Outcomes” slide.
Mr. Kopplin indicated that was a nice slide.
Mr. Kray indicated he is always trying to make the presentation more clear.
Mr. Wise indicated that there are plenty of “cats and dogs” that still need to be addressed. He was referring to the backlog of hearings.
A discussion ensued about the clarity of slides that present similar but not identical information. Mr. Kopplin indicated the presentation is designed to get folks to remain focused.
Ms. Bascos indicated work continues on all cases. Mr. Reid explained the inspections process. Mr. Kopplin indicated the goal is to get faster.
He continued by noting that previously the focus was on how many. Now the focus is on how quickly inspections and hearings get done.
Mr. Wise indicated that more and more home owners are choosing to get their properties in compliance which indicates the city’s efforts may be working.
Mr. Kray indicated an upcoming hearings calendar is now available at www.data.nola.gov
Mr. Illarmo indicated the calendar will be updated every two weeks on Friday. Mr. Kopplin said, “this is incredibly exciting”.
Ms. Bascos reviewed the “Demolitions by Program” slide.
Ms. Bascos said demolitions were completed in the Gentilly area.
Mr. Will McGowan, FEMA representative, indicated that Cindy Place in New Orleans East, which has been an eyesore next to I-10 for some time, has been removed. Eighteen properties have been salvaged with the architectural elements donated to area non-profits.
Mr. Keith Ferrouillet of the Interim Nuisance Abatement Program reviewed the “lots cut” slide. Mr. Brian Lawlor indicated the “one cut” rule could be circumvented by how the cuts are classified.
Mr. David Lessinger of NORA said a pot of money has been dedicated to cutting lots in the lower 9th Ward. He said most of the lots have been cut now. Over 1200 lots have been cut through February, 2012.
Mr. Lessinger wants this to be a jobs program in addition to removing blight. Mr. Hebert indicated that there are lots needing attention next to properties that have new construction taking place.
Mr. Kopplin said the Quality of Life officers are indicating the “hot spots” of crime activity. He said those areas should be targeted for cleanup from a crime fighting perspective.
All FEMA trailers have been removed. Mr. Kopplin said an article about all the FEMA trailers being removed appeared in the Los Angeles Times but not in the local paper.
Mr. Brian Lawlor indicated that Phoenix of New Orleans is helping the last FEMA trailer resident to find a new place to stay.
Mr. Granderson said 63 of 116 files have been accepted for foreclosure. Mr. Kopplin stressed that any 2011 cases with “noticing” problems need to be addressed.
Mr. Granderson indicated that not all cases can be researched on-line and that two code enforcement people are doing the research that cannot be done on-line.
Mr. Kopplin said that New Orleans’ Sheriff Sale process is the only one of its kind in the country. Ms. Breaux said that the process was challenged legally but the city prevailed. Mr. Hebert asked that the judgment information be sent to members of the City Council.
Mr. Kopplin stressed the importance of getting case files back to code enforcement if the case cannot be adjudicated.
Mr. Kopplin stressed that the focus should be on properties that will sell quickly. Ms. Tammy Jackson indicated that is currently being done.
Mr. Granderson indicated 32 properties are scheduled for Sheriff’s Sale in February. Mr. Kopplin said letters should be sent to judges and lawyers who are not furthering the process. Ms. Breaux indicated this has already been done and that some people have been re-assigned.
Mr. Granderson said 1.6 million dollars have been collected from liens and sales.
Mr. Lessinger talked about properties sold to the State of Louisiana through the Road Home program. He indicated the getting the properties under local control is the goal.
Ms. Kirsten Melberg talked about the soft 2nd program run by Mr. Brian Lawlor and that more and better information will becoming available for NORA properties.
Ms. Melberg indicated that much work is being done on the disposition of State-owned properties in Orleans Parish.
Mr. Lawlor talked about the Office of Community Development.
Rental Housing Program | Homeownership Development Program | Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program
The Rental Housing Program provides affordable rental housing for low to moderate income families. Funds are provided to Not-For-Profit and For-Profit Housing Development Organizations for the acquisition, rehabilitation, new construction and soft development cost associated with developing affordable rental housing.
The Homeownership Development Program provides homeownership opportunities by developing properties through acquisition, rehabilitation or new construction of homes that will be sold to low-income families. Not-for-Profit and For-Profit Housing Development Organizations can apply for HOME funds to subsidize the cost of construction, land acquisition, and down payment assistance that will produce a code compliant home.
The Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program provides financial assistance to low-income homeowners to enable them to bring their residences into compliance with the Federal Government’s Housing Quality Standards and the International Residential Code adopted by the City of New Orleans. The program is administered by the Not-for-Profit Housing Organizations and In-House Office of Community Development staff.
Mr. Wise asked which programs were most relevant concerning blight. Mr. Lawlor indicated that the Rental Housing Program and the Homeownership Development Program most affected blight.
Mr. David Lessinger talked about the “Market Value Analysis” for properties in New Orleans. The city can use this data to better target areas for redevelopment. The clerk of Civil District Court holds this information. A meeting with the folks from Civil District Court was held during November of 2011 according to Mr. Allen Square.
Mr. Hebert indicated that 16 Katrina cottages are available. Ms. Kirsten Melberg should be contacted if anyone is interested.
2nd sale properties do have a minimum bid that consists of the total of fines and liens. 1st sale properties have a minimum bid of 2/3 of the appraised value. 2nd sale properties do not have a minimum real estate value bid but do have a minimum big that consists of whatever fines and liens that are currently imposed on the property.
Mr. Kopplin proposed a “mow to own” program where adjacent property owners can acquire a property next to them that they are taking care of. He suggested this process take place after the properties have gone to auction and don’t sell.
Mr. Kopplin indicated the current acquisitive prescription process is not very effective.
Ms. Illarmo answered a question from the audience: 7 case managers, 13 inspectors, 20 case managers that rotate in from various law firms.
Ms. Basco answered a question from the audience: Phone calls and emails are returned by Code Enforcement on Mondays and Fridays.
Ms. Bascos indicated that citizens should use 311 to have information forwarded to the Code Enforcement Department.
There is not an effective enforcement program for blighted properties that are occupied. Mr. Hebert indicated that for the most aggregious blighted properties that are occupied, the Fire Department can make progress where the city can not.
Mr. Hebert answered a question about getting a bill from the State legislature to make the blighted property disposition process faster and smoother. House Bill number 430 is authored by Jared Brossette. CLICK HERE TO READ House BILL 430.
Any residents wanting to comment on HB 430 can send them to
[email protected]. This bill is requested jointly by the City of NO and NORA. In an effort to reduce the blight, NORA will be able to purchase adjudicated property directly from the City of New Orleans.
Mr. Kopplin suggested getting Gilmore Auctions involved with NORA properties since they’ve done such a good job with Sheriff Sales.
Mr. Hebert talked about http://ownthecrescent.org
It is clear that enforcement of laws related to blighted properties will be more aggressive in 2012. The Mayor’s directive to have 10,000 blighted properties eradicated in three years remains on track.
BlightStat 33 will be held on April 12, 2012. The meetings are on the 8th floor of City Hall in the Homeland Security Conference Room.
You can review reports on all of the previous BlightStat Meetings in the links below:
Blight Sweep in 9th Ward: https://fsjna.org/2010/11/blighted-beginnings/
BLIGHTSTAT ONE: https://fsjna.org/2010/11/bi-weekly-blight-business/
BLIGHTSTAT THREE: https://fsjna.org/2010/12/what-gets-measured-gets-managed/
BLIGHTSTAT FOUR: https://fsjna.org/2010/12/blight-busting/
2010 Year End Update: https://fsjna.org/2010/12/year-end-update-from-the-landrieu-administration/
BLIGHTSTAT FIVE: https://fsjna.org/2011/01/the-5th-dimension-of-blight/
BLIGHTSTAT SIX: https://fsjna.org/2011/01/a-sixth-sense-for-blight/
BLIGHTSTAT SEVEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/02/the-7-heavens-of-blight/
BLIGHTSTAT EIGHT: https://fsjna.org/2011/02/8-by-ya-mommas/
BLIGHTSTAT NINE: https://fsjna.org/2011/03/blightstat-9/
BLIGHTSTAT TEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/03/blightstat-10/
BLIGHTSTAT ELEVEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/04/blightstat-11/
BLIGHTSTAT TWELVE: https://fsjna.org/2011/04/blightstat-12/
Mayor’s State of the City Address: https://fsjna.org/2011/04/one-city-that-shares-one-fate/
BLIGHTSTAT THIRTEEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/05/blightstat-13/
BLIGHTSTAT FOURTEEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/05/blightstat-14/
BLIGHTSTAT FIFTEEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/06/blightstat-15/
CITY GETS REPORT CARD: https://fsjna.org/2011/06/city-gets-report-card/
BLIGHTSTAT SIXTEEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/06/blightstat-16/
BLIGHTSTAT SEVENTEEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/06/blightstat-17/
BLIGHTSTAT EIGHTEEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/07/blightstat-18
BLIGHTSTAT NINETEEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/07/blightstat-19/
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY: https://fsjna.org/2011/08/blightstat-20/
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY-ONE: https://fsjna.org/2011/08/blightstat-turns-21/
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY-TWO: https://fsjna.org/2011/09/blightstat-22/
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY-THREE: https://fsjna.org/2011/09/blightstat-23/
FIGHT BLIGHT RIGHT: https://fsjna.org/2011/09/fight-blight-right/
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY-FOUR: https://fsjna.org/2011/10/blightstat-24/
CITIZENS PARTICIPATE: https://fsjna.org/2011/10/citizens-participate-in-new-orleans/
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY-FIVE: https://fsjna.org/2011/10/blightstat-25/
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY-SIX: https://fsjna.org/2011/11/blightstat-turns-one
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY-SEVEN: https://fsjna.org/2011/11/27-meetings-about-blight/
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY-EIGHT: https://fsjna.org/2011/12/blightstat-28/
BLIGHTSTAT TWENTY-NINE: https://fsjna.org/2011/12/blightstat-moving-to-monthly-meetings/
BLIGHTSTAT THIRTY: https://fsjna.org/2012/01/armageddon-has-arrived-for-blighted-property-owners/