From the Field: Louisiana Lawmakers Ban Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning

State lawmakers in Louisiana passed a bill (S.B 462) on Tuesday, May 9 that will ban municipalities from requiring developers to include affordable housing in new multifamily projects. Senator Danny Martiny (R-LA), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee sponsored the bill. Many legislators argued that requiring a developer to sell or rent a unit for less than they could get for it on the open market is unconstitutional.

Several cities in Louisiana are facing an affordable housing crisis. Housing costs are rising while wages have stagnated. Affordable housing contracts, tax credits, and other federal subsidies are increasingly expiring. Mandatory inclusionary zoning laws would increase the supply of affordable homes in the absence of other incentives for for-profit developers to create them.

Housing advocates across the state worked hard to oppose S.B. 462. Members of the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance called and tweeted their representatives urging them to #PutHousingFirst, and advocates went to the Capitol on Monday, May 7 to express their concerns in person. The bill passed in the House by a vote of 61-29. Without the requirement of mandatory inclusionary zoning, the City of New Orleans and other municipalities around the state will lose a powerful tool for creating equitable, sustainable and affordable homes for all.

The bill’s passage will push New Orleans further down its current path of displacement and disparity, falling further behind on the goals outlined in the Housing NOLA’s 10-Year Strategy and Implementation Plan and Smart Housing Mix Study of 2016. “We are deeply disappointed in the decision that allowed this bill to pass,” said by Andreanecia Morris, president and chair of GNOHA. “It’s nearly unfathomable to think that throughout our long history, our elected officials in the state capitol have yet to realize that our market cannot and will not correct itself.”

For more information, contact Andreanecia Morris at: amorris@housingnola.org