St. Bernard Parish Judge rules against multifamily developments

[Read subsequent blogs on what happened after this ruling]

St. Bernard Parish judge today ruled the parish government acted illegally when it reissued building permits in February for four controversial mixed-income, multifamily developments.

Parish President Craig Taffaro took the stand this morning and told the judge he was strong-armed into reissuing the permits because of threats from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD has said it will revoke St. Bernard’s federal funding if the parish does not allow more multifamily and lower-income rental housing in the parish.

Both HUD and a federal judge have said the parish’s repeated attempts to prevent the Provident apartments and its changes to zoning laws to limit such construction have been racially discriminatory.

Yet the citizens who filed the suit against the parish said they are fighting for equality.

Initially, the parish would not reissue the permits for the apartments in Chalmette, but after a complaint filed by HUD, continued pressure from the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and advice from its own legal council, the parish reissued them.

Judge Robert Buckley ruled Thursday morning that St. Bernard violated its own zoning laws by reissuing the permits. He also stated that despite a federal judge’s ¬†order preventing any disruption of construction, that state and parish law – not federal mandates – dictate zoning matters.

Read remainder of the story at NOLA

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About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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