New Orleans Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance

Printed: 12/11/2023 1:06:01 AM

25.3.G Restoration and Expansion of Certain Nonconforming Uses

The following existing nonconforming uses may be expanded, subject to standards of this section. In the event of any conflict between the limitations on expansion of use in other sections of this Article and specific standards of this section, this section controls.

25.3.G.1 Process for Restoration of Certain Nonconforming Uses   

In order to restore certain nonconforming uses  and neighborhood commercial establishments in the Historic Core and Historic Urban Districts, a conditional use approval is required. In addition to the conditional use requirements, any additional application requirements and approval standards in this section shall be included in the submittal and process. Any variance to the standards of this section shall be approved as part of the conditional use approval process.

Adopted by Ord. 28622 3-11-21, ZD 83/20

25.3.G.2 Expansion of Certain Existing Nonconforming Industrial Uses   

a.  The expansion of a legal nonconforming industrial use is permitted in the Historic Marigny/Tremé/Bywater residential and mixed use districts, the residential and non-residential districts of the Historic Urban and Suburban Neighborhood Districts, the Commercial Center and Institutional Campus Districts, and the Center for Industry Districts. These provisions apply only to industrial uses and do not apply to any residential or commercial uses permitted in an industrial district.

b.  In order to minimize the impact of nonconforming industrial uses upon adjacent properties and the neighborhood, and to protect the surrounding neighborhood from any adverse effects of such uses, the expansion of an existing nonconforming industrial use shall follow the conditional use process and meet the following standards:

i.  The use is a legal industrial use or attained legal nonconforming status through prescription or as a result of a change in zoning classification. The use has been maintained without interruption for two (2) years or since the date use became nonconforming, whichever is less, prior to the application for expansion.

ii.  The use is designed, located, and operated so that public health, safety, and welfare is protected.

iii.  The use causes no substantial injury to other property in the neighborhood in which it is located.

iv.  The use or structure conforms to any additional conditions deemed necessary by the City Council, upon the recommendation of the City Planning Commission, to secure the general objectives of this section and to ensure that other properties in the neighborhood are not adversely affected. The City Council may impose conditions to meet the following standards:

(1)  Adequate ingress and egress to the property and to the existing and proposed structures is provided with particular consideration for vehicular and pedestrian safety and convenience, traffic flow and control, and access for fire control vehicles.

(2)  Off-street parking and loading areas are able to adequately serve the use of the subject property, with particular attention to ingress and egress, the location and number of spaces, and the impacts of noise or glare on adjoining properties and other properties within the general vicinity.

(3)  The location of refuse and service areas are located to ensure safe site circulation and are properly screened.

(4)  Adequate landscape, screening, and buffering is provided to minimize the impact of the use on adjacent properties and other properties in the general area.

(5)  Existing and proposed signs and any existing and proposed exterior lighting are compatible with properties in the general area.

(6)  The heights of existing and proposed structures, including any enlargements of existing structures and yards and open space are compatible with properties in the general area.

(7)  The general scale, arrangement, and design of existing and proposed structures, including building material and any exterior features, are compatible with adjacent or nearby land uses.

c.  A development plan shall be submitted with an application to expand an existing industrial use and shall include the existing industrial use as well as any proposed expansion of the use.

d.   An industrial use that has been expanded pursuant to this section may not be changed to another use unless reapplication is made in accordance with this section. The change in use shall be similar to the existing use and of the same or of a lesser intensity than the existing use. No change in use is permitted to a less restrictive use.

e.  Any proposed expansion is limited to the same or contiguous lot(s).

f.  When the proposed expansion of an industrial use is located in a historic district, the Historic District Landmarks Commission shall review and comment on the application.

g.  No building permit will be issued until a final plat of the expansion is approved, filed and recorded in the Conveyance Office of Orleans Parish. The development plan and the agreement shall be recorded within thirty (30) days of the date the final approval of the plan is signed or the approval is deemed null and void.

h.  The City Council may initiate revocation proceedings against the owner of the expanded industrial use in the event of noncompliance or failure to satisfy conditions imposed on approval of the expansion after sixty (60) days notice to the owner.

25.3.G.3 Existing Nonconforming Residential Uses in the Industrial Districts   

An existing residential use in an Industrial District that has lost its legal nonconforming status may be reestablished, structurally altered, and additions to existing structures may be permitted provided that no additional dwelling units shall be permitted other than those existing prior to the loss of legal nonconforming status. In the Industrial District, additions and structural alterations to existing residential uses shall be permitted provided that no additional residential units may be created through such structural alterations or additions. 

25.3.G.4 Expansion of Certain Public and Semipublic Facilities   

a.  Existing railroad facilities, public and governmental uses, public and private educational facilities, and colleges and universities may continue to be operated and maintained in any residential, mixed-use, business, commercial, medical, life science, industrial or open space districts and may be expanded provided such expansion is within the existing boundaries; and

  1. Meets the applicable district regulations; or
  2. Where variances are necessary, such expansion is authorized by the Board of Zoning Adjustments. 

No new such facility may be established except when allowed by the district or when approved as a conditional use.

b.  Temporary use of off-site facilities for an existing educational facility, primary (including pre-kindergarten and kindergarten), educational facility, secondary shall be allowed in the districts described in Paragraph a above subject to the following:

i.  The temporary use shall be allowed for a period not to exceed two (2) years. An extension of the two (2) year limit may be granted upon request to or by the City Council. A City Council motion duly adopted shall effectuate the extension.

ii.  New off-site structures used temporarily must meet the following setback requirements: not less than fifty (50) feet where the side yard or rear yard line abuts a residential district and not less than twenty-five (25) feet from all lot lines abutting streets, canals, or open public spaces.

iii.  The student enrollment of the temporary facility shall not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the student enrollment of the existing school facility. The enrollment of the temporary facility may be increased upon a request to and approval of the Director of the Department of Safety and Permits in the event of an emergency. Said emergency may constitute a fire, natural disaster, hazardous condition, or any other unforeseen occurrence requiring prompt action.

c.  Expansion of an existing school site shall be permitted as a matter of right subject to all the following:

i.  The existing school site prior to the expansion is nonconforming in terms of the minimum site size requirement for a school and said expansion of the school site reduces the degree of nonconformity.

ii.  There shall be no structures on the expansion site.

iii.  The expansion site remains open space or recreational area.

iv.  Renovation or reuse for a public school purpose of an existing school facility that has not been approved previously through the conditional use procedure shall be allowed outright, notwithstanding any nonconforming status or period of vacancy, provided that the type of school is not changed to a higher grade grouping school. Any expansion of the site beyond its limits at the time of closure or prior use, other than expansion permitted under item iii above, or change in use to a higher grade grouping, shall require a conditional use permit.

v.  Rebuilding of an existing public school facility that has not been approved through the conditional use process shall be allowed irrespective of any nonconforming status or period of vacancy provided that:

(1)  No increase in floor area occurs greater than fifty percent (50%) of the floor area of the structure prior to rebuilding.

(2)  The type of school is not changed to a higher grade grouping school.

Any expansion of the site beyond its limits at the time of closure or prior use, other than expansion permitted under item iii above, or change in the above stated conditions, shall require a conditional use permit.

d.  A Campus Development Plan shall be submitted in conjunction with any new building construction as authorized by items a - c above, subject to the standards in Article 20, Section 20.3.Z of the CZO.


Adopted by Ord. No. 27,371, §3, April 28, 2017, Zoning Docket 125/16

25.3.G.5 Existing Nonconforming Radio and Television Towers   

Existing radio and television towers in any district, including accessory structures but excluding attached broadcast studios and offices, may continue to be operated, maintained, and are permitted to expand in conformance with the applicable district regulations, provided that the site is a minimum of ten (10) acres and a minimum setback of fifty (50) feet is maintained from all property lines.

25.3.G.6 Existing Nonconforming Hospitals in Single-Family or Two-Family Residential Districts   

Existing nonconforming hospitals located in a single-family or two-family residential district may be maintained, altered, or expanded subject to the following standards:

a.  Such expansion includes only the addition of uses or services incidental to the principal activity of the hospital without change of use or zoning classification.

b.  The lot was either:

i.  Occupied by hospital buildings and used for services customarily incidental to the principal activity of the hospital as of October 19, 1967; or

ii.  The lot to be maintained, altered, or expanded by the addition of uses or services was contiguous to or abutting the lot where the hospital is situated or is separated by a street and fronted on the same public street separating the lot as of October 19, 1967.

c.  The lot to be maintained, altered, or expanded by the addition of uses or services, together with the other lots owned by the hospital were either contiguous or separated from each other by a public street as of October 19, 1967, contain an aggregate of not less than ten (10) acres.

d.  The expansion or structural alteration does not encroach into any required yard area or off-street parking area.

e.  The proposed alteration or expansion of uses or services complies with existing City ordinances and does not cause serious negative impacts to occupants of adjoining premises by reason of emission of odors, fumes, gases, dust, smoke, noise, vibration, light, glare, or other nuisance.

f.  Any and all future structures or uses are used only for the principal activity or accessory uses to the principal activity of the hospital and for related institutional activities, such as libraries, parking areas, and other similar uses.

g.  No new commercial activities of any kind are permitted, in whole or in part, main or accessory, such as personal service establishments, restaurants, hotels and retail goods establishments, except as may be incidental and necessary to the principal activity of the hospital and of the type that existed in said hospital as of October 19, 1967.

h.  The hospital may not be enlarged outside its current boundaries, including by addition of any other lots subsequently acquired by the hospital.

i.  Any alteration or expansion by the addition of new structures under the provisions of this section shall be enclosed by a continuous masonry, brick, iron, or picketfence. If such fence is not opaque, then landscape shall be installed along the fence to screen the structure. The fence shall be a minimum of seven (7) feet in height.

25.3.G.7 Existing Fairgrounds   

An existing fairground in a residential district or in any district when owned by an established public entity may be maintained, structurally altered, or extended, new structures constructed, parking areas extended, and new parking area created within the boundaries of the development, without a change of use. For purposes of this section, this includes, but is not limited to, the following uses: amusement parks, pistol or rifle ranges, racetracks, sport fields. Such uses shall be located on a site no less than ten (10) acres in size within the boundaries of the fairgrounds, as delineated on the Official Zoning Map. The following standards apply to expansions:

a.  There is no further encroachment on any required yard area or off-street parking area.

b. The required setbacks for a new structure or any extension is twenty (20) feet from a public right-of-way and fifty (50) feet from a residential property line. When a structure abuts a cemetery the required setback from the cemetery is three (3) feet. Any new parking area or any extension of an existing parking area shall be set back twenty (20) feet from a residential property line. The required yard setback from a public right-of-way cannot be reduced to the average front yard setback established by other structures along the street frontage.

c. Whenever a new structure or parking area or the extension of an existing structure or parking area abuts a public right-of-way or residential property line, a masonry fence or a fence constructed of redwood, cedar, or cypress boards placed vertically, edge to edge, shall be provided. The fence shall be located along the residential property line and seven (7) feet in height, or located ten (10) feet from a public right-of-way and ten (10) feet in height. All barbed wire shall be turned in towards the facility.

d. A chain wall that extends at least twelve (12) inches below grade and at least six (6) inches above grade shall be constructed and maintained as part of the fence to assure that the drainage does not run onto adjacent properties. An internal drainage system shall be provided for any new facility.

e. The ten (10) foot area between a public right-of-way and the fence shall be maintained as open space and planted with live groundcover and shrubs.

f. The shrubs shall be planted prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy and a bond in an amount equal to the initial cost submitted to guarantee the maintenance and replacement of the shrubs for two (2) years.

g. The activities of the development shall not cause serious annoyance or injury to occupants of adjoining premises by reason of the emission of odor, fumes or gases, dust, smoke, noise or vibration, light, or glare or other nuisances and shall comply with all applicable City ordinances.

h. Expansion of the boundaries of the fairgrounds requires approval of a conditional use.

i. Waivers or variances to these provisions by the Board of Zoning Adjustment are prohibited. Waivers or variances may be granted by the City Council, following recommendation by the City Planning Commission.

25.3.G.8 Existing Racetracks   

A horse or dog racetrack may be operated in conjunction with pari-mutuel wagering between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. when approved as a conditional use, provided that:

a. The horse or dog track complies with all City ordinances governing and/or prescribing the following:

i. Proper setbacks for lighting systems including, without limitation, all parking lot lighting and security light systems.

ii. Landscape, drainage, fence placement, and fence design.

iii. Size, height, and location of structures, including without limitation stables, barns, grandstands, parking garages, office structures, and lighting standards.

b. Assurances are provided to the City Council that all applicable State laws are complied with, including approval by the Louisiana State Racing Commission.

c. The horse or dog track complies with all other ordinances and legal requirements governing land use and development.

d. All field lights and racecourse illumination systems are directed and placed so as to minimize the effects on neighboring residential properties. Further, such systems do not employ candlepower in excess of the minimum required for the horse or dog racing events. The Council may hire an expert of its selection to examine and inspect any such lighting system so as to insure compliance with this provision, the cost for which to be paid by the applicant. The report and recommendations of such expert shall be conclusive as to whether or not there has been compliance with this section. A plan for all lighting systems shall be formulated, submitted, and approved with the application for the conditional use.

e. All field lights and racecourse illumination systems shall be turned off no later than 8:30 p.m., and all parking light systems shall be turned off no later than 8:45 p.m. on any evening during which night or twilight racing events are held. Such lighting systems shall otherwise be turned off by 6:30 p.m., except when night repair work is essential and prior approval from the Director of Safety and Permits has been obtained. It is recognized that emergencies can occur, such as a horse or jockey injury, and, in such cases, there is an automatic exception to the provisions of this section. However, it is specifically recognized that the inability of track patrons to exit the parking lot by 8:45 p.m. because of excessive traffic does not constitute an emergency.

f. The horse or dog track shall implement a plan prescribed by the City Council for ingress to and egress from its facilities. The plan shall minimize the impact of vehicular and pedestrian traffic in surrounding neighborhoods. Except for racetracks that have been in existence for three (3) years or longer at the time of the passage of this Ordinance, all vehicular and pedestrian gates, driveways, or walkways shall be closed to the general public during all hours of operation on any day in which race events will be held after 6:30 p.m. except gates on a major street. The horse or dog track shall also provide, at its expense, personnel to control traffic as it enters and exits the major street gates, driveways, or walkways.

g. The horse or dog track shall take all necessary steps to control litter along the perimeter of its property. A plan for litter control shall be formulated, submitted and approved with the application for the conditional use permit.

h. Night or twilight racing is limited to two (2) evenings per week.

i. In the event that any condition of the conditional use is violated, the City Council, on its own motion or on the petition of any interested or affected person, will undertake revocation proceedings.

j. Waivers or variances to these provisions by the Board of Zoning Adjustment are prohibited. Waivers or variances may be granted by the City Council, following recommendation by the City Planning Commission.

25.3.G.9 Existing Two-Family Dwellings in the Lake Area Districts   

a.  Two-family dwellings, where the two-family residential use is the immediate previous legal use of the structure, shall be permitted to be re-established, structurally altered, and additional floor area may be added to the structure, provided that no additional dwelling units shall be permitted.

b.  Two-family residential structures described above may be demolished and rebuilt, provided that they obtain a building permit for construction within one (1) year of issuance of a demolition permit and complete construction and obtain a certificate of occupancy from the Department of Safety and Permits within (1) year of the issuance of the building permits.

c.  With regard to the standard time limitations in subsection (b) above regarding demolition and building permits, properties that were established as legal two-family dwellings as of August 29, 2005 (the date of Hurricane Katrina) shall retain two-family dwelling status for three (3) years following demolition or until August 29, 2010, whichever is earlier. These Katrina damaged two-family dwellings that have not obtained a building permit by August 29, 2010 will lose two-family status and revert to the underlying single-family status.

25.3.G.10 Existing Borrow Pits   

Legally established borrow pits existing as of the effective date of this Ordinance are considered legal nonconforming uses and may continue to operate as approved. Any changes to the approved design and operations plan shall be approved as an amendment to the conditional use. Once the borrow pit is closed, the agreements within the approved end-use plan shall be executed.

25.3.G.11 Existing Manufactured Home Parks   

Existing manufactured home parks may be expanded provided that there is no expansion of the lot area, subject to the following standards:

  1. The nonconforming use shall be verified by the Department of Safety & Permits prior to submitting the application for expansion.
  2. The lot area for expansion accommodates only manufactured homes meeting the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety program standards (42 USC CH.70) in effect on the date of manufacture and contains a plate and label number showing the home is certified in accordance with the inspection standards of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  3. Each new home added in the expansion area shall be provided off-street parking in accordance with the requirement for a single-family dwelling as shown in Table 22-1.  All off-street parking spaces and drives shall be designed in accordance with Sections 22.8.C, 22.8.D, and 22.8.E.
  4. At minimum six (6) feet separation is required between homes.
  5. Any dumpster shall be screened in accordance with the screening requirements of Section 23.13A.
  6. Except for ingress and egress and any office or common facility along the front property line, the entire site shall be enclosed with a minimum six (6) feet high fence or a continuous hedge.
  7. All homes shall be setback at least three (3) feet from property lines.
  8. Existing manufactured home parks shall be required to provide an overall site area to accommodate the required minimum lot area per home in accordance with the site’s base zoning district’s 3 unit multi-family lot area per dwelling unit (if applicable) or 1,500 square feet of lot area per home, whichever is less.
  9. Existing manufactured home parks shall meet the open space requirements of the site’s underlying zoning district.

Adopted by Ord. 28330 MCS, ZD 110/19, 4-15-20; Ord 29096 MCS, 7-21-22, ZD 23/22

25.3.G.12 Signage for Non-Conforming Uses   

Non-conforming uses are allowed to install new signage as is otherwise allowed in the zoning district pursuant to Article 24.  Changes to the content of existing, non-conforming signage are governed by Section 25.6 Legal Nonconforming Signs.

Adopted by Ord. 29126 MCS, 8-4-22, ZD 16/22

25.3.G.13 Existing Hotels in Vieux Carre Districts   

An existing hotel in a Vieux Carre District may be maintined, structurally altered, or extended within its legal non-conforming footprint, provided that there is no increase in the number of sleeping rooms or suites, and said maintenance, alteration or extension is in accord with applicable district regulations including, but not limited to , height and open space requirements and provided further that such extension is limited to the accommodation of accessory uses.  A conditional use is required for such alterations or extension in accordance with Section 4.3.

Adopted by Ord. 29126 MCS, 8-4-22, ZD 16/22