New Orleans Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, Article 23: Landscape, Stormwater Management, and Screening

In 2015, the New Orleans City Council adopted a new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO). Article 23 of the CZO addresses landscaping and stormwater management with the intended purpose of reducing the urban heat island effect, decreasing flooding and strains on the existing drainage system, improving water conservation, and protecting public health, safety, and welfare. Article 23 of the CZO does not directly mention climate change or climate adaptation, but does specify regulations that can improve the cities ability to manage stormwater in the face of increased precipitation and mitigate heat in the face of rising temperatures though green infrastructure.   

Culminating a four year process, the CZO overhauls the zoning rules that governed New Orleans for more than 40 years.  The full CZO is intended to give legal force to the New Orleans' Master Plan, which was adopted in 2010.

Article 23 of the CZO requires a landscape and stormwater management plan for most new development that must be submitted prior to receiving a permit (excluding some residential property). It includes several elements that require or strongly encourage green infrastructure practices to manage stormwater. For example, every parking facility is required to capture, filter, infiltrate, or store the first 1.25 inches of stormwater. Section 23.12 outlines various Best Management Practices (BMPs) which minimize runoff, increase infiltration, recharge groundwater, and improve water quality. These include bioswales, constructed wetlands, detention basins, ditch gardens, sand filters, and tree protected areas. The CZO does not prescribe the use of any specific BMP, but describes them with the goal of providing guidance. 

Article 23 also addresses the heat island effect by promoting green spaces and shade trees (defined as having a height of over forty 40 feet at maturity) in parking lots, parkways, and other property. 



Publication Date: May 2015

Related Organizations:

  • City of New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • Regulation

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