City Council adds more “doubles to dorms” rules

Martha Sanchez, News Editor

city council initiative
The city council approved new rules to combat so-called “doubles-to-dorms” around Tulane and Loyola — the latest attempts to regulate developers in neighborhoods around the schools. (Ashley Chen )

The New Orleans City Council unanimously passed new rules to control developers in Uptown neighborhoods last week, drawing praise from residents who have long fought the so-called “doubles to dorms” properties that are common around Tulane University and Loyola University. 

The new rules will close several loopholes left by the last batch of legislation in October. Those rules required developers to add one off-street parking space for every new bedroom added to a property. 

Now, developers are prohibited from tandem parking, or stacking multiple cars in a single-car driveway to satisfy the parking requirement. The city council also made the definition of a bedroom more specific: living rooms, hallways and unenclosed porches can not count. All renovated and new constructions must also have a common space, like a living room or kitchen, and cannot use hallways or foyers as bedrooms. 

Under October’s legislation, developers could label living rooms, hallways and enclosed porches as bedrooms. That meant they could technically skirt the parking rule instead of recording the creation of a new bedroom after a renovation. 

The move was sponsored by Councilmembers Lesli Harris and Joe Giarrusso. Giarrusso’s district includes Tulane’s perimeter. 

The council’s latest rules mark the fourth time in three years members have sought to regulate “doubles to dorms” — traditionally family homes that developers have turned into multi-bedroom rentals for college students. Neighbors have decried the developments for years, arguing the high rents drive out residents and make parking a pain. 

The new rules are in effect for one year and may be renewed for an extra six months after that. 

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