Real Estate

New Orleans homebuilders oppose mayor’s affordable housing push

Claim his plan compromises private sector

Many in the homebuilding sector and related industries are standing against New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s initiative to create more affordable housing in the city, according to an article by Greg LaRose for The Times-Picayune.

In fact, one industry leader called his plan a politically expedient approach to the city’s workforce housing shortage that fails to actually address the problem.

From the article:

Jon Luther, executive vice president of the Homebuilders Association (HBA) of Greater New Orleans, is speaking out against the mayor's initiative. He said requiring an affordable housing impact statement would stretch an already-thin city planning staff and create unnecessary delays for developers, which his group represents.

"I frankly feel like it's being rammed down the private sector's throat," Luther said, speaking to the mayor's broader proposed housing policy.

Industry opposition to the city's affordable housing strategy extends well beyond impact statements and has been bubbling near the surface for months as city leaders and affected parties have been involved in talks over affordable housing. Luther's group includes developers, real estate professionals, and apartment complex owners and managers.

The mayor says his plan will add another 7,500 units of affordable housing in the next five years.

From the article:

To get there, the mayor intends to push for inclusionary zoning, a development incentive that ties residential development density to adding affordable units. An investor can build a larger apartment building if a certain portion of the units is reserved for low-income renters, for example.

Landrieu's strategy falls in line with the HousingNOLA plan, which originated from the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance, a group of nonprofit housing developers and affordable housing advocates. Andreanecia Morris, a nonprofit housing executive who chaired the GNOHA, was recently picked to lead HousingNOLA.

Meanwhile in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration’s plan seems to have been met with much more acceptance as the administration celebrated the passing of the NYC affordable-housing plan back in March.

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