After months of waiting we now have action being taken on the conversion of the courthouse to an elder care facility. The first thing is the taking down of these outer buildings. There is ongoing demolition inside the courthouse itself to get it ready for this conversion.
One challenge the contractors have is the height of the river. They need to sink dozens of pilings before they can begin work on the additions and if the river is too high they have to wait till it lowers.
Some of the most important work of MARI is trying to stem the tide of these D2Ds which threaten the very fabric of our beautiful neighborhood. Working with Councilman Giarrusso we have managed to get passed an overlay which restricts parking. In essence, for every bedroom added they need to provide parking which they cannot.
One challenge that we have is what seems to be the blanket approval by the city to these developers to almost anything they want to do. Many times we have found that they will buy a property and begin working on it before they even get a permit. One of the most egregious violations is the raising of a classic old shotgun house into 2 stories. You can see this in the left hand column. MARI has been fighting this and currently there is a lawsuit against Amicus, the developers from out of state who are behind some of the most blatant examples of this D2D movement. Apparently, this is happening all over the country in these university areas.
We feel that the powers that be in the permitting office and others to be on the side of the developers rather than the neighborhoods and the neighbors. They may issue fines but they are so low that the developers can easily absorb them.
Here is a letter written by MARI VP Keith Hardie in support of a bill that increases fines for these people. It provides a very good overview of our current challenge:
We used to worry about these STRs back a few years ago. Rules were passed to try to get a handle on them and for the most part they seemed to have worked. Now, in the University area we are dealing with D2Ds, our most pressing concern. This is referenced in the above post.
Writer and Carrollton Resident Roberta Gratz has written an article for the Lens about short-term rentals. Gratz, who has written several books on urban planning, including "We're Still Here Ya Bastards" about the post-Katrina recovery, says, “What ruined the Quarter as a community now threatens the whole city.”