I am writing because the residents of the neighborhoods of Sharpstowne, Broadmoor, Sherwood Forest, St. Regis, Runnymede and Cedarcrest are frustrated. These neighborhoods represent about 7,000 people, yet we cannot obtain enforcement of Urban Design Overlay District 9, Ordinance 15935 regulations.

Five years ago, we worked very hard with our Metro Council to create the district. We followed the law in creating this district, which included all the required public notices. In fact, our councilman, who assisted with the initial creation of the district, mailed notices to all landowners along Old Hammond Highway announcing the creation of the district and soliciting their participation and input.

Our main focus was to protect our property values and the beautification of our neighborhood. One area on which we focused was signage and fencing. All businesses were to comply by July 2015.

Now, we, as residents, are asking DPW and our Metro Council to enforce those guidelines, and we are getting nowhere. On July 6, 2015, I notified city officials that there were a number of signage and fencing violations. I attached photographs of each violation. When by July 17, 2015, I had not received any response, I notified by email the entire Metro Council and Planning Commission staff of the violations. I then contacted the enforcement division for the city and was basically told there is no way to enforce these restrictions. I was also told that businesses were now trying to be excluded from the district and its requirements — requirements that were properly advertised and adopted five years ago.

What good is it for residents to work hard with city officials to pass ordinances and protections for property if no one will enforce it?

I believe many neighborhoods are struggling with similar issues. We are hoping that attention to our problem may prompt some action by the Metro Council or DPW employees. These are the same kinds of signage-type requirements that are included in the overall FutureBR citywide plans. If our city cannot enforce these neighborhood-driven ordinances and protect our property values, how can it enforce larger-scale plans like FutureBR? I say FutureBR is worthless because without enforcement it is not worth the paper on which it is written.

Please help us hold our elected officials accountable by giving a voice to these residents so that our officials will have the backing they need to enforce these restrictions and to adopt policies that provide an incentive for people and businesses to comply with the law.

Gary Schaefer

president, Sharpstowne Homes Association

Baton Rouge