Monday, November 17, 2014

French Quarter building collapse shows need for adequate government regulation

Libertarians, anarchists, and conservatives who think we don't need any government regulation, except to make things look nice, will be happy about this.

Nov. 17, 2014

The collapse of a 210-year-old building in the heart of the French Quarter is raising warning flags about decay and a lack of rigorous inspections in one of America's oldest and most fragile neighborhoods.


The single inspector at the Vieux Carre Commission, the city's zoning arm for the Quarter, only has authority to inspect a building's exterior. Citations are routine for gaudy signs and Plexiglas - violations of historical standards - or letting a facade decay. Owners can't be cited for letting a floor sag or allowing mortar to deteriorate to dust on the interiors of their buildings. There are city building and fire inspectors, but they do not do random inspections of old structures.

The commission's check-ups amount to "a visual inspection that occurs from the streets, corners, and any aerial views that we are readily afforded," said commission chairman Nicholas Musso. "We do not have the ability to enter a piece of property, or a courtyard, or a rear of a building. It could have been crucial in this particular instance."


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