New Orleans City Council will hold a public hearing Friday, March 17 to discuss residents' "air rights."
The city says it has taken the position that all "encroachments," including balconies, stoops and eaves, belong to the city and therefore must be leased from the city, according to the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates (VCPORA).
This includes buildings that have been around for hundreds of years, the VCPORA says.
The idea is that property owners will pay additional fees for parts of their properties that extend into the city, many of which are unable to be removed due to constructions regulations in designated historic districts.
VCPORA says these leases could require property owners to pay hundreds of thousands annually as well as give the city the right to raise the rates by 10% every five years.
Councilmember-at-Large, Stacy Head said she thinks this is a bad policy.
"These are, again, properties that are presumably paying taxes already," Head said. "Many of them are in historic areas - the French Quarter or in other historic districts - where they can't even remove the balconies if they wanted to avoid paying those fairly hefty fees, some of them are in the five, eight thousand dollar range."
These leases would not be limited to the French Quarter and Marigny. Areas like the Treme, CBD, Warehouse and Lower Garden Districts would also be subject to these fines.
The public meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 17 in Council Chambers, 1300 Perdido Street