John Villere, who owns the home at 820 General Pershing, said that its location surrounded by other parking lots makes it impossible to rent, leading to its current state of disrepair. So, when a developer offered to buy it to make room for a few parking spaces and a delivery lane to an as-yet-unnamed project in part of the Top Drawer building, Villere told the City Planning Commission in a Tuesday afternoon meeting.
“It’s a buffer. I am the buffer. No one wants to live there,” Villere said. “It has fallen into disrepair. It is an eyesore. This would be an improvement to the neighborhood.”
A group of neighbors, however, argued that there are numerous other options for the deliveries, and that demolition of the home — which by one neighbor’s estimate may have been built in the 1890s — for a parking lot would be a detriment to the neighborhood.
“All we’re going to end up with is parking lots, and that’s prime real estate in New Orleans,” said Bob Smith of the Faubourg Marengo Neighborhood Association. “We don’t need any more parking lots in our neighborhood.”
The commissioners sided with the neighborhood, saying they felt the home had not been given the proper opportunity for renovation and rental, and voted 6-0 against allowing a conditional use for a parking lot there.
The city planning decision Tuesday follows the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee’s denial last month of Villere’s request to tear the home down. Both decisions against the project will now be forwarded to the City Council for a final decision.
To read our live coverage of Tuesday’s meeting, see below.