[StBernard] St. Bernard Parish stops construction of controversial apartments

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Feb 22 19:12:25 EST 2011

St. Bernard Parish stops construction of controversial apartments

Published: Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 2:51 PM Updated: Tuesday,
February 22, 2011, 3:22 PM

By The Times-Picayune

St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro has issued a cease and desist
order on construction of four mixed-income apartment complexes in Chalmette
that have been at the center of a long legal battle between the parish and
fair housing advocates.

Taffaro said he issued the order Tuesday morning over concerns that part of
the land being used for the four 72-unit developments could be considered
wetlands. He said it's up to the Army Corps of Engineers to determine if
that's the case.

Earlier this month, the St. Bernard officials appeared ready to allow the
developments to move forward in the wake of a string of federal court
rulings against the parish for preventing Provident Realty Advisors'
proposed $60 million project. U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan had labled
the parish's attempts to block construction of the developments as "racially

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also filed a complaint
against the parish, alleging its zoning laws discriminate against
African-Americans by not allowing enough rental and affordable housing.

St. Bernard officials have maintained that the parish already has affordable
housing and that adding more would reduce property values and undermine the
single-family character of the community.

The fight against the multifamily apartments began in 2008.

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