Mayor C. Ray Nagin reported on Thursday that the City of New Orleans has entered into a Consent Decree regarding the demolition of homes and property damaged by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita and deemed to be in imminent danger of collapse.
This includes properties located in Gentilly, Lakeview and the Ninth Ward that are blocking public rights-of-way or are on public property and also includes properties identified by the Department of Safety and Permits as being in imminent danger of collapsing. These buildings can pose safety risks to people because of their current conditions and locations.
“Our first priority is to secure and ensure the safety of all people,” Nagin remarked. “The neighborhoods that have been hit hard by Hurricane Katrina may pose harm to people during the initial clean-up and rebuilding of homes.”
A federal judge had ordered that all demolitions cease and scheduled a hearing on Jan. 19. The City and plaintiffs’ attorneys entered into a Consent Decree which outlines the steps that must be taken by the City of New Orleans and its contractors before beginning demolition of homes and properties that block public rights-of-ways or are in imminent danger of collapse.
This process includes notification of homeowners and property owners. The City Attorney’s Office and Counsel for Plaintiffs are working together to finalize a listing of properties that are blocking public rights-of-ways. Once that process is completed, a copy of the
Consent Decree and any exhibits will be released to the public.
The City of New Orleans will notify the home and property owners regarding demolition:
1. In ads placed in the Times Picayune for three consecutive days
2. On the Web site of the City of New Orleans (www.cityofno.com) where each property will be identified
3. By mail to the last known address of the owner if the address can be determined.
The City of New Orleans will also provide notification according to these specifications:
* At least 7 working days prior to demolition of properties blocking public rights-of-ways, including 99 of the 117 Ninth Ward properties, and the 4 properties located in Gentilly and Lakeview identified by the Department of Safety & Permits
* At least 10 working days prior to demolition of 18 of the 117 Ninth Ward properties that are partially on public property
* And at least 30 working days prior to demolition of 1,958 homes/properties, located throughout the City, and identified by the Department of Safety & Permits as in imminent danger of collapse.
Any objections to the proposed demolitions must be presented in writing to the Department of Safety & Permits before each deadline listed above. The City of New Orleans is not bound to provide relief if there are disputes to the demolitions.
This will be in effect for one year, beginning Jan. 13, 2006.
The consent decree applies to any home or property that was damaged as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The City will establish a toll-free telephone number dedicated to providing information about building demolition.
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