Gretna Bans Exterior Vinyl Siding In Historic Districts

GRETNA, LA (AP) — Exterior vinyl siding will not be allowed on new construction in Gretna's historic districts.

         By a 3-2 vote, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune’s Andrea Shaw reports the City Council Wednesday night approved the measure offered by Councilman Joe Marino III, who initially sought a broader prohibition.

         In trying to convince the council to endorse the measure, Marino said the ban on new construction impacts a "handful" of properties or about five projects a year in the Gretna-Mechanickham and McDonoghville districts.

         As an alternative, Councilman Wayne Rau offered a six-month moratorium on all vinyl in those neighborhoods to allow officials to study and develop guidelines for how the siding should be used. He and Councilman Milton Crosby voted against the restriction on new construction.

         The issue prompted a tense exchange between Marino and Rau. Rau criticized Marino, saying his colleague had presented five versions of the amended ordinance.

         But in trying to reach a consensus with the council, Marino said he was willing to dial back his initial amendment that would have eliminated vinyl. He revised that proposal to ban vinyl on new construction, allowing homeowners with the material already on their homes to repair and replace with similar siding.

         "What we're trying to do is save a historic district that we have. Our historic district is like a forest with old trees," Marino said. "Every time we lose a home, that tree is gone, you can't replace it. If we don't actively try to maintain and preserve our historic district, it will not exist."

         Resident Zach Dietrich, who sits on the Historic District Advisory Commission, called for Gretna to conform to New Orleans, which has the state's largest historic district. Gretna is second.

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