The State Fire Marshal’s Office found no violations during the inspections of Uptown buildings believed to be “doubles-to-dorms” student housing developments. In an effort organized by state Rep. Aimee Freeman, University area neighbors had cited more than 100 buildings in complaints to the Fire Marshal. The complaints stated that the buildings are unlawfully occupied and require safety inspections. The Fire Marshal’s Office announced Monday (Nov. 7) that its team of 19 deputies encountered no life safety concerns or improper commercial use of one- or two-family residences during the inspections.
The State Fire Marshal followed through Tuesday (Nov. 1) on warning letters sent in October to the owners of more than 100 student-housing conversions in the University area. The letters stated the buildings may be unlawfully occupied and require safety inspections, according to media reports. Buildings that house four or more unrelated residents are considered commercial properties and must have fire exits, sprinkler systems and meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Preservation advocate Susan Johnson of Town of Carrollton Watch reported on Tuesday’s inspections on the organization’s Facebook page:
State Fire Marshal officials went ahead with fire safety inspections of private dorms (D2Ds) in the university neighborhood today (Nov.
The owners of more than 100 student-housing conversions in the University area were issued a warning letter over the weekend from the Louisiana fire marshal that their building may be unlawfully occupied and require a safety inspection, Stephanie Riegel reports on NOLA.com. Buildings that house four or more unrelated residents are considered commercial properties and must have fire exits, sprinkler systems and meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The fire marshal’s office, which got involved at state Rep. Aimee Freeman’s urging, told Riegel it is not likely to shut down the doubles-to-dorms, but neighbors said they welcome the extra burden on the D2D developers.
City Council will vote Thursday (Oct. 6) on an interim zoning district that would temporarily expand the area subject to the University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay restrictions. The proposed interim zoning district would include the Carrollton, Marlyville-Fontainebleau, Broadmoor and Uptown neighborhoods in the restrictions aimed at curbing “doubles to dorms” developments. These private student housing developments are rented by the bedroom.
The University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay, passed in October 2021, addresses the residential density from D2Ds by requiring a permeable off-street parking spot for each bedroom added to a property. It applies to new construction and renovations with more than five bedrooms in residential buildings without a homestead exemption.
The interim zoning district and overlay were both created to address the lack of Uptown parking because of the greater residential density from D2D development.
The City Council on Thursday approved two motions on parking and residential density in the University neighborhood. They are aimed at establishing an Interim Zoning District for the Uptown area near Tulane and Loyola with more stringent parking requirements than the rest of the city. It’s an unusual move for a council that normally prioritizes the creation of housing, particularly affordable housing, over parking. But the Uptown area near Tulane and Loyola universities has an unusual problem, with investors buying up homes and converting them to high-end multi-unit rentals marketed to students. “What’s occurring right now, particularly in the Maple neighborhood, is that doubles are being converted into dormitories,” said District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso at Thursday’s meeting.