Residents: New Orleans razed homes without consent

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Some residents are asking a judge to hold the city of New Orleans in contempt for allegedly demolishing structurally sound houses without notice and failing to maintain an accurate demolition list, in violation of a consent decree.
An attorney for the city, Franz Zibilich, said the new allegations "have no merit whatsoever."
The request, on behalf of residents with pending demolitions in the city after Hurricane Katrina,

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Some residents are asking a judge to hold the city of New Orleans in contempt for allegedly demolishing structurally sound houses without notice and failing to maintain an accurate demolition list, in violation of a consent decree.

An attorney for the city, Franz Zibilich, said the new allegations "have no merit whatsoever."

The request, on behalf of residents with pending demolitions in the city after Hurricane Katrina, is part of a long-running legal dispute over the city's identification and noticing of properties to be razed following the storm, which hit in August 2005.

The filing also seeks to have all demolitions in the city halted until listing procedures are revised.

The consent decree, signed by the city and fair housing advocates earlier this year, was meant to guard against unwarranted demolitions while letting the city raze the worst properties. It required, among other things, that notice be given to owners of targeted properties, including things they could do to try to avoid demolitions.

The motion, filed late last week, claims homes are on the list wrongfully, including that of prominent local civil rights attorney Tracie Washington. It says that her home has no damage, and that structurally sound homes are being razed without notice.

Davida Finger, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said this spoke to the "worst kinds of human rights violations."

This Home is Worth $307,949

But you can get it for just $180k! It's open house for great real estate bargains. See how much home can you buy for the money in cities throughout the US!

Top Picks: Bargain Homes for Sale

Foreclosure Search: 7-Day Trial to Foreclosure Listings

Looking for More Bargains? Learn about Short Sales

__________________________________________________

Browse Over 2.8 Million Home Listings


See Homes for: $30,000 | $50,000 | $150,000 | $250,000

"They're supposed to only demolish homes that meet a certain threshold of deterioration," she told The Associated Press.

Zibilich said the city doesn't agree with the allegation that homes were wrongfully demolished and doesn't concede a violation of the consent decree. He said the city is looking into the alleged listing of Washington's home.

City Council members, who heard about the complaints and from angry residents during a committee meeting Monday, planned to look into the matter at Thursday's council meeting. The potential for a moratorium on certain demolitions exists.

Seemingly abandoned properties have been a concern and source of complaints among residents who consider them safety hazards and obstacles to further recovery in their neighborhoods. The city was pocked by derelict houses before Katrina made matters worse, and officials also have been worried about structures that might collapse.

City officials have said that several properties collapsed after Hurricane Gustav dealt New Orleans a glancing blow on Labor Day. Ceeon Quiett, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ray Nagin, said that six houses collapsed last week alone and that there are concerns with asbestos and other health problems that might be associated with such collapses.

Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis, whose district includes the hard-hit Lower 9th Ward, said that demolition is a valuable tool in parts of the city and that she'd oppose a citywide moratorium. "We can't just wholesale stop progress" in areas blighted by unsafe vacant properties, she said.

She said the question becomes, "What is the focus of resources intended to help neighborhoods recover?"

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.





Read Full Story

Find a Home

Buy
Rent
Value
Powered by Zillow

People are Reading