Bulldozing Halted by Ninth Ward Victory
City Must Give Notice to Residents
New Orleans residents won a major victory against abuses of their right to due process; the violations, widely understood as a land-grad targeting black neighborhoods, had been cloaked in the guise of “emergency measures” by City officials. Residents challenging the city’s attempt to bulldoze their homes without notice won a settlement signed Friday, January 13th which recognizes that all people are entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard, prior to any property being taken.
Kirk v. City of New Orleans, brought on behalf of a class of approximately 5500 homeowners and organizational plaintiffs (People’s Hurricane Relief Fund, ACORN, Hope House, Common Ground Collective, Lower Ninth Ward Neighborhood Council, New Life Intracostal CDC), now requires notice to homeowners whose homes pose an “imminent danger,” even those that are in the right of way. The city originally said they would not provide any notice at all. “The win here is that due process applies even in this environment,” said Ishmael Muhammad of the Grassroots Legal Network. “Now there’s work ahead in organizing for owners rights to be assisted in coming home.”
There notification prior to demolition is as follows:
Properties in street get 7-day notice (117 homes). Properties on the sidewalk or in neighbors yard will get 10 days. For the other 1975 that are in danger of collapse but not off foundations, a 30-day notice will be given. “Notice” means an ad placed in The Times Picayune newspaper, A letter mailed to the last known address, a listing placed on city website and a toll-free number that homeowners can call to find out whether their property is slated for demolition.
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