[StBernard] St. Bernard Parish Housing Authority

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Thu Mar 29 19:03:24 EDT 2007

St. Bernard Parish Housing Authority works on comprehensive plan of what to
do with property state will buy in the Road Home program and may turn over
to parish; will look at ways to have larger lot sizes and smaller population

March 27, 2007
Steve Cannizaro


St. Bernard Parish officials are looking ahead to try to control what
happens when the state buys homes as part of its Road Home program and
ultimately turns the land over to parish government.

One result could be the chance for larger lot sizes for the residents who
remain and a smaller population density in areas.

The parish's Housing, Redevelopment and Quality of Life Authority - made up
of the seven parish Council members and a representative from Parish
President Henry "Junior'' Rodriguez, who appointed Lance Licciardi, and
Sheriff Jack Stephens, who appointed Jimmy Pohlmann - met Tuesday and wants
to develop a comprehensive plan covering how to handle the possibility of
the state turning over large tracts of property acquired in the Road Home

Alan Abadie, legal counsel for the administration, said "President Rodriguez
is working on control of re-development and flood hazard exposure through
zoning adjustments'' of property received from the state. "The idea would be
to re-zone all property acquired from the Louisiana Recovery Authority as a
government property zone.''

It isn't clear what the LRA will ultimately do with homes purchased by the
state in the Road Home program, Council Chairman Joseph DiFatta said, but
the parish should tell the LRA now "what we would like to see happen.''

Estimates are that as many as 4,000 vacant homes in St. Bernard Parish,
which formerly had 27,000 homes before the flood of Hurricane Katrina, could
be sold to the state in the Road Home program.

If most of those homes are turned over by the state to the parish, "We would
want to receive them in a manner cleaned and maintained and not with
structures'' still on them, DiFatta said. He pointed to Buccaneer Villa
North as a prime example of an area that was heavily flooded and may end by
nearly totally sold to the state by owners.

Council member Mark Madary that "it's important to tell the LRA we want to
be in charge of our own redevelopment.''

Council member Craig Taffaro, chairman of the Housing Authority, said
members should begin a comprehensive plan and asked them to put in writing
what they want to with such land for the group's April 27 meeting.

DiFatta said it's possible the Housing Authority could offer property given
by the state to residents living on adjacent lots, with the proviso that it
now be considered as one piece of property, DiFatta said. That would have
the effect of reducing population density and creating larger lots.

It could create 10,000 square-foot lots, which would be desirable, he said.
The current minimum lot for new subdivisions is 6,500 square feet.

Council member Lynn Dean, however, said it would be wrong to tell property
owners want to do, saying he fears poor people would be driven from the
parish by zoning rules that are harder on them. "What you are saying is 'we
don't want no poor people here,''' Dean said.

Taffaro said that was an incorrect interpretation by Dean. "It makes logical
sense to reduce (population) density'' by having larger lot sizes and
reducing the number of homes available in the parish, Taffaro said.

"You have to reduce the number of homes'' that are vacant, Taffaro said. As
long as you have more houses than people to put into them we reduce home

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