City Council to vote on expanding area covered by parking overlay

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.

Zimpel Street cottage sets off battle between developers and neighbors

The City Council on Thursday (July 21) handed Carrollton area neighbors a victory by overturning the Historic District Landmarks Commission’s approval of plans to partially demolish a house near Tulane University. The approval would have allowed developers Preston Tedesco and Sidney “Sam” Torres V to add a second story to a 1,359-square-foot single-family home they purchased on Zimpel Street. The plans they filed with the city show two units with a “doubles-to-dorms” layout. On June 1, the HDLC voted 8-2 to allow the entire roof and 65% of the facade to be demolished so the second floor could be added. The HDLC staff found that the modest mid-century building, rated as “non-contributing,” had nothing to distinguish it.

City board denies neighbors’ appeals over doubles-to-dorms conversion on Audubon

The battle between Uptown residents and developers over doubles-to-dorms conversions continues to play out in municipal hearings over zoning decisions. “Doubles-to-dorms” refers to the conversion of homes intended for families into private dormitory-style housing for college students. 

The Board of Zoning Adjustments on June 6 denied two appeals from University area residents who stated the Department of Safety & Permits wrongly issued a zoning determination and a building permit for 636-40 Audubon St., a multi-family building at the corner of Hampson Street. 

The first appeal was filed by architect Collette Creppell, a longtime neighbor of the property and a former executive director of the City Planning Commission. Creppell questioned the validity of the developer’s statements on the building’s previous unit and bedroom count and stated that “going from eleven (claimed) bedrooms to a proposed sixteen bedrooms under an interpretation of Existing Multi-Family is a distortion of the zoning code.”

The BZA staff maintained that unit count, not bedroom count, determines the density of a building and that Safety & Permits’ determination was in line with the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The Board of Zoning Adjustments agreed, voting unanimously to deny the appeal. 

In the second appeal, neighbor Keith Hardie objected to the building permit for the rental property that an LLC controlled by developers John P. Hamide and Preston Tedesco purchased from Riverlake Properties in January 2020. The permit was granted by the director of the Department of Safety & Permits to allow the developers to turn 636-40 Audubon from a five-unit, 11-bedroom house into a four-unit, 16-bedroom house. 

As enacted on Nov.

City Council approves University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay

The City Council passed a motion Thursday establishing the University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay, making permanent the Interim Zoning District aimed at curbing the spread of investor-owned “doubles-to-dorms.”

Since the restrictions were temporarily established in March 2020, the overlay has expanded geographically while becoming more limited in scope and application. The overlay still requires one off-street parking space for each newly created bedroom in the area, but now it applies only to new homes or renovations with more than four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms per unit. It also features carve-outs for homes with a homestead exemption and for affordable housing projects. In addition, it only applies to residential districts. And to reduce stormwater runoff, each new parking space must be permeable.