The wners of 1901-07 Sophie Wright Place met with neighbors in the Lower Garden District on Tuesday, Non. 16, about their plans to turn a second-floor unit into a short-term rental.
Ash Salem, Raouf Mousa and Ralph Mousa (as 1901 Sophie Wright LLC) purchased the property in April 2019. They also own apartment-rental units in Lakeview, Chalmette and Mid-City. Most people know the building as the location of the Munch Factory restaurant, located on the first floor, and its proximity to Half Moon Restaurant, Hi-Volt coffee shop and Il Mercato, an event rental space. There is a commercial permit for the property and the owners have already applied for STR permits for three second-floor units, two of which are already allowed by city ordinance, with the owners applying for a conditional use for one short-term rental in a HU-B1 zoning district (Historic Urban Neighborhood Business District).
A Lower Garden District property owner’s appeal to regain his short-term rental licenses was spurned by the Board of Zoning Adjustments this week, giving an indication of the city’s stand on grandfathering in short-term rentals. Christian Galvin received four temporary STR licenses in 2017 for a fourplex he owns at 919 Jackson Ave. When he applied for renewal in May, the Department of Safety and Permits rejected the application. In 2018, the City Council passed an interim zoning district, or IZD, that prohibits renewing the temporary STR licenses in most of the city, including those areas with historic urban residential zoning, like the Jackson Avenue building. Galvin, an active STR proponent, objected to the decision and took his case to Civil District Court, claiming the city unlawfully denied him a legal nonconforming use.
Governmental Affairs Committee Chair and District C Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer will present updates to the City Code relative to enforcement, permitting and fees for New Orleans’ Short Term Rental program. You can read and review a short description of the proposed changes here or the ordinance (Cal. No. 32,691) here. The Governmental Affairs Special Committee meeting is Wednesday, July 17 at 1 p.m. inside the City Council Chambers.