NOTE: Check later blogs on status as this is changing almost daily
St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro has issued a cease and desist order on construction of four mixed-income apartment complexes in Chalmette that have been at the center of a long legal battle between the parish and fair housing advocates.
Taffaro said he issued the order Tuesday morning over concerns that part of the land being used for the four 72-unit developments could be considered wetlands. He said it’s up to the Army Corps of Engineers to determine if that’s the case.
Earlier this month, the St. Bernard officials appeared ready to allow the developments to move forward in the wake of a string of federal court rulings against the parish for preventing Provident Realty Advisors’ proposed $60 million project. U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan had labled the parish’s attempts to block construction of the developments as “racially discriminatory.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also filed a complaint against the parish, alleging its zoning laws discriminate against African-Americans by not allowing enough rental and affordable housing.
St. Bernard officials have maintained that the parish already has affordable housing and that adding more would reduce property values and undermine the single-family character of the community.
The fight against the multifamily apartments began in 2008.