Fight the Blight: Lot Maintenance Plus is a strategic, proactive, place-based response to concentrated blight.
(St. Roch lot before and after cleanup)
Blight threatens public safety, lowers property values, holds back neighborhoods and degrades quality of life. By reducing the number of dangerous, blighted properties, neighborhoods can be revitalized and become safer places to live.
Lot Maintenance Plus is a proactive, place-based response to blight, concentrating grass cutting in six targeted neighborhoods that were selected by a data-driven process that focuses on homicide statistics and code enforcement cases. The grass is cut by members of the NOLA FOR LIFE target population, providing them with employment opportunities and wrap-around services.
Over 1400 properties have been cut and maintained since August 2014. In addition, overall blight reduction efforts will be coordinated to focus on NOLA FOR LIFE target neighborhoods. Concentrating efforts means that there will be a visible, tangible impact.
How it works
Fight the Blight is based on City Ordinance Chapter 66, legislation passed in Summer 2014 that allows the City to cut overgrowth, remove debris and perform routine maintenance on a private lot, and record the costs on the property owner’s tax bill if:
- Grass/growth is over 18 inches; and/or
- There is trash, debris, garbage, or illegal dumping; and/or
- There is noxious growth (poison ivy, etc.)
(Central City lot before and after clean up)
- An initial inspection is performed. If the property is in violation (see above), a notice sign is placed on the property and letters are mailed to the property owner.
- After seven days, the property is reinspected for compliance. If the violations have been addressed, the case is closed. If not, the violations are documented, and the property is cut and maintained every 30 days. The costs of clearing and maintaining the property are recorded on the property owner’s tax bill.
- Property owners may request removal from the Fight the Blight program, however if the violations have not been addressed, the property must go through the full Code Enforcement hearing process.
To get a lot out of a program (once we have started cutting), the owner must submit a request in writing:
- Email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mail your request to City of New Orleans, Attention: Chapter 66, 1300 Perdido St., 9E06, New Orleans, LA 70112
What Fight the Blight Does Do
- Inspect and cite properties with violations
- Sweep target neighborhoods for properties with these violations
- Allow the City to address nuisance properties and safety hazards (short-term) while Code Enforcement process takes place (long-term)
- Support a local job training program for at-risk youth
(St. Roch lot before and after cleanup)
What Fight the Blight Does Not Do
Cut grass outside of the six target neighborhoods
Fight the Blight is a proactive – not reactive – strategy. Concentrating our efforts means there is a visible, tangible, immediate impact. Operating throughout the entire City would dilute this impact. Exceptions for public safety can be made outside of target neighborhoods on a case-by-case basis.
“Cure” the original violation (blight)
This means the original violation does NOT ‘go away’ because the City has cut the grass or removed debris. Proceedings can and will continue under the usual Code Enforcement hearings process (Chapters 6 and 26). Chapter 66 is a means to address dangerous overgrowth while property is going through the code enforcement hearings process.
Make any permanent changes to the property
Under Chapter 66, we cannot demolish, build, construct, plant, grade, or intentionally make any permanent changes to the property. The signs placed on the property use small landscape stakes that cause no damage.
Allow the City to seize or take ownership of the property.
The costs of services provided through this program are recorded as a lien, however these types of liens are not the same as lien foreclosures.
Fight the Blight: Lot Maintenance Plus is not involved with any real estate sales or transactions. If you are interested in purchasing a property, you can utilize these resources: