1. All demolition procedures must adhere to all standing review processes including HCDRC, HDLC, and other reviews. These results must be recorded and kept in a master file that will be created for each property, travel to all hearings, and immediately made available to the public. These reviews should include engineering reports, as well as reports of those with expertise in architecture and historic properties. All decisions by committees and governmental bodies must be recorded in the file. If there is no opposition to demolition from any quarter, these requirements can be waived.

2. Public notice shall be streamlined and simplified. Demolition, blight, and zoning hearings should all be posted and linked together, including City Council hearing agendas that include property review. Currently, it is virtually impossible for a member of the public to find all relevant information.

3. Input from neighbors and neighborhood organizations, as well as the property owners and governmental and non-governmental parties should be considered in all decisions and appropriate, but finite time allotted for voicing concerns.

4. Once going through the above process, properties deemed to be an imminent danger to the community should be demolished immediately.

5. Properties that will be demolished should be stripped of reusable materials by either for profit businesses that pay for the right to do so, or by non-profit organizations such as the Green Project.

6. Properties determined as needing to be gutted and secured should be done so immediately. All safety precautions necessary for the work should be mandated and local crews should be developed to handle the work creating economic incentive and jobs.

7. Liens should be levied against properties that were gutted or demolished with public money for the cost of the work plus necessary fines and fees. These should not total more than the value of the property in its current state.

8. When the cost of the lien reaches a specific amount, such as one half of the assessed value of the property, or after a specified length of time such as six months, it should be offered for sale to the public. New owners should be obligated to bring the property to meet minimum building codes within a reasonable period, such as one year, or before they are allowed to resell it.

9. Adjoining property owners should have right of first refusal on the property after which it should be offered for auction to the public.

10. All standing zoning, building, and permitting codes must be enforced and adhered to.

Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led...