Update regarding the HDLC historic district creation process and why we continue to support “opting out” for now


Hi everyone,

Some difficult weeks since our last meeting in December 2016. I wanted to get in touch on FB and later by email to give you an update since the Feb 2, 2017 Governmental Affairs Committee meeting that included an HDLC informational meeting, where we learned that Mr. Perkins’ HDLC presentation raises more questions and underscored exactly what the Parkview neighborhood has been questioning and trying to avoid: undefined, unlimited discretion of the HDLC to prevent alterations it deems not in “character” with buildings. (Links to the Governmental Affairs Committee meeting video are posted below, along with links to articles, the petition, etc).

My apologies about the length of this post, but I wanted to try and cover in detail so it was clear, and I let everyone know what we know so far, based on my experiences and opinion. I make no claim to be an expert. All of us on the volunteer Board and in our neighborhoods are working hard to stay on top of this.

As many of you are aware—and for those of you who are not aware or may have been told otherwise—Parkview residents, property owners and the volunteer Board members have worked hard to get clarity around the December 2016 events that led to our decision to opt out of the HDLC for now, until such time as the City does not change, define, re-define, alter, adjust, amend or put into place a definition of demolition that was not what the neighborhood voted for (this is what occurred at the December City Council meeting where a new proposed Ordinance to Change the Definition of Demolition was introduced at the end of the day, AFTER the historic district creation was voted on earlier). We also Opt Out of HDLC control for now, until such time we can be assured that these definitions cannot be altered or amended without the input and approval of the affected districts,

There are emails circulating that state that those of us on the Board and other neighbors are leaving our neighborhoods in danger of no protection. We are not and there is no one in any of our beloved neighborhoods wants rampant demolition. We are very aware that there are areas of the City (such as Uptown and Mid-City) that are struggling in this regard. We are working very hard to get accurate information and to share that information (which in this City can be very difficult), without using fear to drive a result.


The year 2016 was filled with surveys, emails, conversations, meetings and educational presentations regarding the creation of the proposed new historic districts. We know that each and every person who lives here in Parkview, City Park Triangle and the areas bordering the Greenway (that have been drawn into the proposed new historic district of Parkview) care deeply about their homes, our neighborhood and our neighbors, our property rights and our budgets.

We realized in December 2016 that there has been misinformation about the entire HDLC process beginning at our Parkview HDLC meeting in March 2016, leading up to the December 2016 City Council meeting where we learned that a change to the definition of demolition was introduced into the last City Council meeting of the year. We worked hard to get answers about this change and met with Cm. Guidry, who in turn brought in Elliott Perkins from the HDLC to our Parkview December 2016 meeting. She also arranged for Paul Harang, Mayor’s liaison to the City Council to meet with our Board—after our meeting with Mr. Perkins at the December meeting brought up even more concerns.

At our December Parkview meeting, Mr. Perkins let us know that the City had been working on a change to the demolition definition. The withdrawn definition included

• Removal or restructuring of more than 50% of exterior walls as measured contiguously around the building; • Removal of more than 50% of roof as measured in plain view; • Removal, restructuring, or relocation of more than 25% of interior non load-bearing walls or any interior load-bearing walls; or • Modification of more than 50% of front facing openings unless such work is determined to be a restoration by the staff of the Historic District Landmarks Commission.

*** Restructuring: Replacement of structural members with those of a different size or structural capacity.”

This new definition of demolition included interior load bearing and non-load bearing walls and exterior façade items that he had told us would not be controlled under HDLC back at our March 2016 meeting. After further debate at our December meeting, we realized from Mr. Perkins that the City intended to move forward with the change to definition, even though we told him this was not what Parkview had agreed to.

Since we were essentially being told that the City would not stop the change to the definition and would not be including Parkview and other districts in the drafting of a new definition (and no other recourse was offered to us by Mr. Perkins at that time), all residents in attendance at our December 2016 meeting voted unanimously to opt out of HDLC control until this could be resolved and the vote was made with Mr. Perkins and Cm. Guidry in attendance.

It was after this that Cm. Guidry also contacted Paul Harang, the Mayor’s liaison to the City Council, to address our concerns about the proposed Ordinance to change the definition of demolition introduced at the December City Council meeting. Mr. Harang let us know that this Ordinance should never have been introduced and he had the proposed Ordinance withdrawn. He took full responsibility for this mistake and said that he would not allow it to happen again under his watch. It was confirmed that the draft definition was being worked on by the HDLC without any public input. We also learned that it is our understanding a proposed Ordinance can be introduced and move forward at any time, with or without our input as property owners in the proposed historic district, or if it is introduced it can move forward and be voted on and a change could be implemented, whether we agreed or not. We were also left with the understanding that we cannot guarantee our neighbors that this would not happen again.

We have also confirmed from emails circulating in the neighborhoods that the HDLC was working on the new definition of demolition while the historic district study and creation process was in progress. This new demolition definition introduced at the December 2016 City Council meeting by Cm. Head, would have involved review of many exterior and interior changes that Elliott Perkins, Director of the HDLC, told us at our March meeting would not be reviewed under partial control-demolition only.

In our continuing round of phone calls and meetings in December and January, we have voiced to Mr. Harang and the City our concerns regarding the definition change. We need to ensure a way that the City administration and the HDLC Department in particular will not “change the game” without us, the citizens affected by the regulations, codes and definitions. I was told by the liaison that the NCDAC was expected to go away in 2018, as this first creation of historic districts had taken longer than expected, and as the City still needed to approach the other historic districts such as Gentilly, South Lakeview, etc. We understood this would allow Parkview time to work with the Administration regarding the demolition definition and we would have to remain under NCDAC review, and we have been told we would remain under the NCDAC if we were not under the HDLC. This was confirmed by both Elliott Perkins and Paul Harang.

I want to also let you know that all of us on the Board have asked for the City administration and other parties to remain in touch and let us know next steps. Getting anyone to call back or follow up with us in any kind of meaningful way has been difficult. In the meantime, I have shown up to meetings to voice our concerns about the process and to note that Parkview has requested to Opt Out of the HDLC at this time, but hope to be able to continue to work with the City and be involved in any revisions to the definition(s) or discussions about “discretionary” review of “constructive demolition”, a term only recently under discussion (at the GAC meeting).

Our Board has struggled to ensure that the original decision to become an HDLC with only whole house demolition control be implemented. Based on the fact that the City worked at drafting a change to the definition of demolition DURING the creation of the new historic districts, without seeking public review and input AND that Mr. Perkins let us know that the new definition would proceed without our involvement, we believed that the best way to ensure property owner voices were heard was by stopping the process to become a local historic district with HDLC oversight at this time.


video link: http://www.nolacitycouncil.com/video/video_legislative.asp

I attended the February 2 Governmental Affairs Meeting, where an HDLC educational meeting was held (with less than 24 hours notice) and this is when I first learned that Parkview would still be moved forward to become a local historic district under HDLC oversight, without any outreach from the City or other staff to advise us they had changed their decision. This is where I learned that the Administration and HDLC were still working on changing/creating a definition for the existing demolition and constructive demolition on the books, without involving neighborhood input and approval in the draft process.

In this meeting, Mr. Elliot Perkins of the HDLC gave a presentation designed to assuage the concerns of various neighborhoods concerning the proposed expansion of HDLC jurisdiction over areas currently under the NCDAC. Unfortunately, Mr. Perkins’ presentation raised more questions than it answered and underscored exactly what the Parkview neighborhood has been trying to avoid: undefined, unlimited discretion of HDLC to prevent alterations it deems not in “character” with buildings.

PERKINS: “The current definition of demolition is the complete or constructive removal of a building. The piece that I think is important there is the constructive removal of the building…. It’s a more discretionary….It leaves in more open to the staff… to determine if this meets the standard for constructive removal.”

GUIDRY: “And what are the factors that you look at for constructive removal.”

PERKINS: “The percentage of building fabric being removed, and if the character and essence of the building is going to be retained.”

At the City Council meeting, I plan to ask the City Council to not include/remove Parkview from the HDLC again, delaying any vote to make Parkview an HDLC control district. We need to see that the City administration can first agree on the definition of demolition without changing it in closed-door meetings, without involving public input. My understanding is this is particularly problematic in the way this is being handled because the Administration has been engaged in this behind-the-scenes effort while in the process of creating historic districts under open meeting laws, because at this time, no one (including the council) knows what definition of demolition they are supporting. Even Elliot Perkins does not know what he is supporting as per his testimony/answers regarding the definition of demolition last week at the GAC meeting Feb 2. We need to be allowed to Opt Out until the definition of demolition is clear for all and not changeable by City administration and officials, as it important to protect property owners rights and the potential financial and time burdens this will cause.

Everyone has been fully engaged in the HDLC creation process to the best of their abilities. Existing districts would also be affected and I’m not sure they are aware this is happening. We, as residents, property owners and tax payers, would have preferred the City administration work with us regarding the proposed revisions to the City’s “demolition and constructive demolition” definitions, and how to ensure our rights are protected in future to restrict future changes to the definitions under the HDLC unless the property owners in the affected districts are involved.

This is why we continue to push to opt out of HDLC oversight until we can ensure the HDLC & city administration will not make far-reaching legislative changes that will affect property owners rights without their input.


If you are in favor of our decision as a neighborhood and as property owners to OPT OUT of HDLC oversight, please sign the petition posted on Facebook and on the PNA website – if you have trouble accessing it through the FB or website, here is the link at Change.orghttps://www.change.org/p/parkview-neighborhood-association-…. Please leave a comment if you have any remarks you want delivered to the Council members or to the City administration.


No matter what side of the issue you are on, we support everyone’s right to ask further questions, to learn more about how these changes will affect your property rights and your neighborhood. If you cannot attend this Thursday’s City Council meeting, please email our City Councilmembers (cc the Mayor, the HDLC staff, the Mayor’s liaison, the Neighborhood engagement office), and let them know your questions and concerns.
If you support the decision to Opt Out of the HDLC, either entirely or until we can ensure we have a say in any changes to the regulations, codes or definitions with regard to oversight by the HDLC, please make that known to them. We believe that together we can make a difference and ensure the City works with residents and property owners.https://www.change.org/p/parkview-neighborhood-association-…


It’s a drag to look up everyone’s emails – I know! Below are all the emails so you don’t have to dig for them (just copy and paste). All Council members will be voting on this, so they ALL need to be contacted.


shead@nola.gov, jasonwilliams@nola.gov, lcantrell@nola.gov, sgguidry@nola.gov, districtc@nola.gov, jagray@nola.gov, councildistrictd@nola.gov

(Stacy Head; Jason Williams, Latoya Cantrell, Susan Guidry, Nadine Ramsey, James Gray, Jared Brosset)

mayor@nola.gov, rfberni@nola.gov
(Mayor Mitch Landrieu)

Director/Deputy of City Council Relations
pmharang@nola.gov, espears@nola.gov
(Paul Harang, Erin Spears)

(Elliott Perkins, Director HDLC)

Neighborhood Engagement office:
ryhunter@nola.gov, lamellem@nola.gov

City Planning Commission:
rdrivers@nola.gov, CPCINFO@nola.gov
(Robert Rivers, Exec. Director)


Last, I am sorry it’s taken me a couple of weeks to get this draft together. We have all been working and trying to fit in meetings and calls. I have been reading back through old study committee minutes and HDLC reports, I have called the State, reached out to other neighborhood groups by phone, contacted someone at a preservation resource organization and generally been busy researching and getting advice and guidance on our situation. Our Board has been responding to any changes in the Administration’s stance as we can, around those pesky day jobs we all have. Because so much has changed based on who we have spoken to, which meeting we were at, or what we’ve learned in other communications, we’ve spent a lot of time running about trying to figure out what is going on. We’ll keep trying to do our best and if we discover that anything we have supplied in the way of information is incorrect, we will correct it as soon as possible.

On another note, we also know that Parkview homeowners are not the only property owners affected – we have next door neighborhoods that are included in the proposed new Parkview Historic District that are also trying to figure out what is going on, and we have trying to get word to them which is difficult as they are in different neighborhood associations and we have a limited number of volunteers. Historic districts and City regulations are not our day jobs, so we have been trying to tread carefully, look out for everyone and not be forced to comply with City code/regulations not originally agreed to in our neighborhood meetings. Everyone on our board is concerned, just as you are, that we do not make the wrong decision that will create major difficulties for anyone in future. We thank everyone for their support and encouragement as we sort this out.


This post is based on my experience and my understanding as a volunteer Board member and as a property owner in Parkview. This process and the ramifications are complex enough to warrant careful and full understanding. If I find out that I have posted something that is incorrect or needs further clarification, I’ll endeavor to do that as soon as possible.  Thanks for listening. – Jamie Hill, Parkview


Petitioning Parkview Neighborhood Association
SIGN THE PETITION / CLICK HERE No Control / No Historic District for Parkview Neighborhood

Remove Parkview Neighborhood from HDLC Oversight Consideration

At the December PNA meeting, the neighbors present at the meeting voted unanimously to be removed from the HDLC controlled historic district.

If you are in support of no control,  please sign this petition.  CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION TO SAY NO TO HDLC CONTROL FOR PARKVIEW NEIGHBORHOOD

Parkview Neighborhood Association votes to opt out of HDLC control

Parkview Neighborhood Association votes to opt out of HDLC control

By Claire Byun

February 3, 2017.  Full article CLICK HERE

Parkview residents are asking to be removed from Historic District Landmarks Commission oversight, though the New Orleans City Council will have the final vote.

The Parkview Neighborhood Association Board voted not to become a local historic district after an attempt to redefine demolition was brought to the board. Parkview members sent a letter to Paul Harang, director of City Council Relations, last month informing the council of their “unanimous” vote.

The park board argued that the city’s “recent last-minute attempt to expand the definition of ‘demolition’” would potentially strip property owners of rights to make certain changes to their property. The letter also voices frustration that the change was made after the HDLC’s public meetings and expands the reach of the committee’s “demolition-only” review process.

The demolition ordinance was withdrawn and not considered by City Council, Harang said in a letter to the neighborhood association. Regardless, Parkview residents voted to opt out of the new historic district, and the organization made their intent clear at Thursday’s Governmental Affairs Committee meeting.

“Our concerns regarding due process, property rights and the present process to change the definition of demolition was again discussed and it was agreed that a loss of trust in the process had irrevocably occurred at this time,” Parkview Board member Jack Monroe said in a letter.

Both the Historic District Study Committee and the City Planning Commission recommended partial control with demolition review oversight for the Parkview district. According to city code, demolition is defined as “complete or constructive removal by an applicant of a building on any site.”

C. Elliot Perkins, executive director of the HDLC, said Thursday the “constructive removal” code gives city staff the ability to judge the percentage of building fabric being removed and whether the character and essence of the building will be maintained.

“That is a more discretionary evaluation, and it leaves it open to the staff of the commission,” Perkins said.

Regardless, the Parkview board’s decision remains. Jamie Hill, president of the neighborhood board, told the Governmental Affairs Committee she appreciates the assistance of city staff and remains “in talks” with administration.

But that doesn’t change the “unanimous” vote by the association, she said.

“That may not be a permanent decision, but until clarity about that definition, and how it was changed, and how to move forward becomes clear, we’re very much against being a part of HDLC at this time,” Hill said.

The council voted to approve the creation of Mid-City’s district and the Parkview Local Historic District, as proposed by the Historic Preservation Study Committee, at a December meeting. That vote came after several months of deferral, though an August public meeting drew much praise for the creation of historic districts in Uptown, Mid-City and Parkview.

The HDLC is, in effect, taking over properties ruled by the Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee which was questionably established and placed under city council rule, Stacy Head, Councilmember-at-Large, said. Thursday’s meeting marked the beginning of a series of educational efforts directed at informing the public on HDLC.

“Today is our effort to begin to educate the public about changes in properties, changes in law in the city, and how the HDLC could impact their properties and their neighborhood,” Head said.”   To continue reading, please go to the full Mid-City Messenger article can be read HERE

PNA Update (Parkview HDLC Expansion)


Parkview Neighbors:

Below is the full recap email from the meeting between the City Council Relations Director and the PNA board on Thursday, December 22, 2016. Unfortunately, the PDF he speaks to is too heavy for a mass email so we will either post it to the Facebook page or, if you would like to, reach out to me directly and we can make arrangements. We have done our best to translate this process into simpler terms. 
In Summary:
Paul Harang stated the introduction of the demolition ordinance was a mistake and he takes personal responsibility for it.  The ordinance will be withdrawn and will not be considered by the City Council.  If the HDLC and the Law Department determine that it’s imperative to change the existing definition of demolition, they will be reach out to us and others for input on a draft ordinance before anything is introduced. In other words, the redefinition of “Demolition” is halted for now.
Expected Timelines*:
12/15/16: The motion to create the Parkview Historic District was passed. There is a 90 day expiration date to create and pass an ordinance in order for this to become law. In other words, the 12/15 vote was to suggest City Council move forward to create an ordinance (law) and that motion expires on 3/15/17.
1/12/17: An ordinance in the same language as the 12/15 motion will be introduction at the City Council Meeting. 
2/9/17: The ordinance will likely be on the City Council agenda for a vote
3/9/17: If the ordinance is not already voted on, this is the last scheduled Council meeting to take action before the motion expires on 3/15. 
*At any time, there is a possibility that the City Council will hold a special meeting which means our expected timeline above can be fluid.
Look for an invitation from me regarding the date of our January Board meeting where we discuss our next steps.
As always, please continue to communicate any suggestions or recommendations. And remember, we are still looking for passionate and energetic people to represent the PNA as a board member in 2017.
Thank you PNA Board
Below is letter from  Paul Harang (Director of City Council Relations):
Thank you for taking the time to meet with Ross and me last night on such short notice.  I appreciate the opportunity to talk through the HDLC expansion issue with you all.
As promised, please see below for a summary of where things currently stand.
HDLC Expansion:
At its December 15 meeting, the City Council passed a motion authorizing the expansion of the HDLC to include demolition review in Parkview and Mid City.  I have attached a copy of that motion to this email.  I’ve also attached the City Planning Commission staff report, which is the legislative instrument that defines “partial control” in the case of Mid-City and Parkview as demolition only.  Pages 25-27 of the report summarize the planning commission’s vote to make the partial control districts demolition only.
The next step in the legislative process is for the City Council to introduce an ordinance with the same language as the motion that was passed at the 12/15 meeting.  That ordinance can be introduced at the first meeting of 2016, on January 12.  The ordinance will then layover for 21 days before appearing on the agenda of the February 9 City Council meeting.  The Council has 90 days from the motion date (12/15) to act on the ordinance.  This gives it a deadline of March 15, 2017.  The last City Council meeting before that date is March 9.  Barring a special meeting, March 9 is the effective deadline for Council action.
I have instructed HDLC to correct the section of their web page that states the effective date as January 2017.  Thank you for pointing that out.
Demolition Definition Ordinance:
As I stated at last night’s meeting, the introduction of the demolition ordinance was a mistake that I personally take responsibility for.  The ordinance will be withdrawn and will not be considered by the City Council.  If the HDLC and the Law Department determine that it’s imperative to change the existing definition of demolition, we will be sure to reach out to your organization and others for input and feedback on a draft ordinance before anything is introduced.
The current definition of demolition in the city code that is considered by the HDLC is in Chapter 84, Section 22.  This language is specific to the HDLC. That language is below:
Demolition means the complete or constructive removal by an applicant of a building on any site.”
The definition of demolition considered by the Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee (NCDAC) is laid out in the code through a list of exemptions in section 26-6.  Until the HDLC expansion is approved, demolitions in the Mid-City and Parkview neighborhoods are reviewed by the NCDAC.  That definition can be viewed here: https://www.municode.com/library/la/new_orleans/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICO_CH26BUBUREHOST_ARTIINGE_S26-6REDEPE
Paul Harang
Director of City Council Relations
Office of Mayor Mitch Landrieu

PNA Emergency Vote – Tuesday, Dec. 20th 6pm – 1324 Moss St.

PNA members,

Thursday the City council passed limited oversight by HDLC to Midcity and Parkview neighborhoods. Per our vote earlier this year, they have passed the creation of the Parkview local historic district, partial control (which our representative reiterated is for demolition only).

HOWEVER, in a last bid to actually have further control, at the end of the Council Meeting an Ordinance to AMEND AND CHANGE THE DEFINITIONS for DEMOLITION AND RESTRUCTURING for properties within the jurisdiction of the HDLC was announced. This happened at the end of the City Council session, without notification or public discussion and after our representatives had left the meeting.

Members of the PNA Board have met to discuss what these changes would really mean for our neighborhood (and for neighborhoods across the City). We believe that this change SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGES the HDLC oversight to include RENOVATIONS, REMODELS and INTERIOR AND FACADE reviews. In our opinion, it is an end-run by specific politicians, historic preservation organizations and the City of New Orleans HDLC to put in place oversight and restrictions that are the opposite of what our neighborhood voted for. Parkview residents voted to become an historic district ONLY if it were demolition only as per the existing Ordinance.

We are holding an EMERGENCY VOTE during the December 20th meeting/christmas party. This vote is to decide on giving the PNA board the authority to exert additional resources (funding, time dedication, up to and including legal action) to enforce the original intent and spirit of the demo only oversight as presented on multiple occasions by the HDLC leadership and supported by the majority of the neighborhood via polling.

THIS IS AN EMERGENCY MATTER AS THIS CHANGE IS SET TO TAKE EFFECT ON JANUARY 1, 2017, and the Ordinance will be given to the Mayor to sign likely before the holidays.

Hope you will attend this very important meeting this Tuesday, December 20th at 6:30pm Vincent Hall – 1324 Moss Street.

Sincerely PNA Board

Parkview Neighborhood Holiday Potluck – December 20th @ 6pm Vincent Hall at 1324 Moss Street

The Parkview Neighborhood Association will be hosting its annual Holiday Party Potluck. It will be held at 1324 Moss Street in Vincent Hall on Tuesday, December 20th at 6pm. Vincent Hall was recently renovated and has beautiful views of the bayou from the front porch. Please bring a dish to share–a large ham, wine, beer, soft drinks, water and music will be provided.

We are looking for volunteers to help with the following:


If you would like to help, please contact Jack Monroe at jacksprat78@gmail.com.  Party set up will begin at 3pm, clean up will begin at 9:30pm.


If you would be interested in bringing a sound system and supplying festive music, contact Jamie Hill at jamielhill@gmail.com.



We will also be collecting pantry items for Second Harvest food bank.  Please bring any donations in sturdy bags that we can use to carry.


Come out, meet your neighbors, and have fun on Tuesday night!!!

Please join the Parkview Neighborhood Association, your neighbors and members of our local police and fire department as we work together to keep our neighborhood safe, friendly and a wonderful place to live!!

This Tuesday, October 18th, starting at 6 PM

At the Harding Triangle, under the lights!!

Bring folding chairs and a dish for pot luck- the PNA will provide drinks, hot dogs, burgers, and BBQ

Come out, meet your neighbors, and have fun on Tuesday night!!!