Why Are They Banning Vinyl Siding in New Orleans’ Historic Gretna District

New Orleans From GretnaA controversy centered around vinyl siding has arisen in New Orleans. According to the Washington Times, the historic Gretna district has banned vinyl siding. The Washington Times explores this in a recent article titled “Gretna bans exterior vinyl siding in historic districts.

The author of the article writes, “By a 3-2 vote, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune 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.”

In response, NOLA.com asks the question, “Is vinyl siding appropriate in a historic district?” in a recent article by Susan Langenhennig. She writes, “Gretna’s new ban was on my mind as I strolled through the New Orleans Home and Garden Show in the Superdome on Sunday. Several vendors were selling vinyl siding that looked remarkably like wood grain. Without touching it, some were hard to tell apart from cement fiberboard. Jon Luther, vice president of the Home Builders Association of New Orleans, told my colleague NOLA.com reporter Andrea Shaw much the same thing last week, calling the Gretna City Council’s action ‘disappointing’ and based on an ‘antiquated’ view of vinyl siding. ‘He noted the material is used on multi-million dollar homes and some products cannot be distinguished from cement fiber board,’ Shaw wrote. Gretna’s new ordinance, Shaw reported, does not eliminate vinyl siding in the historic districts completely. Homes with vinyl siding already can keep it and make repairs to it.”

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