New Rules Won't Float With Boat Owners In Kenner

KENNER, LA (AP) — Recreational boats on trailers are nothing unusual in many Louisiana neighborhoods.

         Now, new restrictions on where boat owners in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner can park their vessels are drawing complaints.

         The complaints have led city officials to say they are exploring whether they should alter or delay some of the new rules, which were approved in March.

         According to The New Orleans Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas a new zoning code, in the works for years, includes rules on where boats could be parked at Kenner residences. Allowed locations include garages or on driveways, backyards or side yards that have fences or hedges to shield them from public view.

         The changes were discussed at numerous public gatherings. But some residents say they were blindsided by the new rules.

         The new rules give residents until April 4, 2017, to figure out how to properly park their boats. Violators could face fines of up to $200 a day or even up to a month in jail, though maximum penalties for not complying with the zoning code are rarely enforced.

         With the April date approaching, the city's Code Enforcement Department in recent weeks sent out courtesy notices to households that would be in violation of the new rules if they didn't take action.

         Many homeowners did not take the notices well.

         About 40 of them packed a Dec. 15 City Council meeting. Some speakers demanded that officials repeal the new rules and threatened to either move out of town or file recall election petitions against council members.

         "We have paid for our homes. … We pay our taxes," said Maddie Stratton, who described starting an online petition with some 300 signatures to overturn the boat rules. "We have a right as a citizen to do as we please in our homes. … For the city to come out to tell us we can't keep our boats … is unacceptable."

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