Front Yard Initiative

The Front Yard Initiative, the UC's response to excessive yard paving, is a project working to improve New Orleans’ safety, storm water management, and beauty.

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The Front Yard Initiative is  UC’s response to excessive yard paving. Rampant front yard paving is a community issue that has broad and significant effects on the city of New Orleans from stormwater to safety.

The Front Yard Initiative is an incentive program that reimburses eligible homeowners $2.50 per square foot of paving removed- up to 500 square feet- for a max of $1,250.gray to green                                               Click Here!

Issue Details

Paving in excess of 40% of your front yard (and side yard on corner lots) is illegal in most New Orleans neighborhoods under the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. Since no permit issuance is required to pave a front yard area, the practice is widespread. Property owners replace their green spaces in favor of concrete and other impermeable surfaces in an effort to provide additional parking and/or reduce yard maintenance. These hard surfaces affect more than the single lot on which they sit.

This program aims to further the sustainability and resilience goals spelled out in the GNO Urban Water Plan, Article 23 of the new CZO, the New Orleans Master Plan, in addition to complementing the Complete Streets policy.

excessive pavingLearn more about problems caused by excessive paving.


To deter future excessive paving and to minimize after-the-fact confusion and adjudication, the Urban Conservancy proposed that the city require a permit for yard paving. We continue to advocate for this permit.

Important Links

FYI Terms & Conditions + Guidelines

FYI Project Checklist.

Read more about how FYI got started!

Update 8

Jul 2016

The UC gets a mention in this article about 2015 Urban Hero, Jay Nix.

Photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

House Tour: Parkway Bakery owners’ waterfront home above Bayou Sauvage

Update 7

The Urban Conservancy’s Front Yard Initiative gets a great mention! Removing excessive paving decreases street flooding by capturing water where it falls and increasing onsite permeability.

Image by Dana Eness, Urban Conservancy

6 ways New Orleans residents can help fight street flooding

Update 6

Jun 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 7, 2016

 

Contacts:                                                                                                                   

Andreas Hoffmann, Executive Director

Green Light New Orleans

Tel. 504-342-4966

Email: andreashoffmann@greenlightneworleans.org

Dana Eness, Executive Director

Urban Conservancy

Tel. 504-232-7821

Email: dana@urbanconservancy.org

 

LOCAL NONPROFITS AWARDED $250,000 TO FOSTER SUSTAINABLE LIVING

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Green Light New Orleans and the Urban Conservancy received a total of $250,000 in grant money from the Allianz Katrina Fund to promote sustainable living in Orleans and Jefferson Parish by implementing programs which address energy consumption, water mitigation and fresh food access.

Allianz is a global financial services company working primarily in insurance and asset management in more than 70 countries around the world. The Allianz grant is administered through the Allianz Foundation for North America (AZFNA). AZFNA Executive Director Christopher Worthley stated of the grant: “In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Allianz made a $1 million, long-­term commitment to support people and communities impacted by Katrina. We are honored to fulfill this pledge now with two grants to Green Light New Orleans and the Urban Conservancy in order to promote the use of money­saving, compact fluorescent light bulbs, healthy urban gardening and hard surface reduction for improved water management.”

The grant was matched by an in-kind donation­ of 3,500 LED light bulbs from Phillips to leverage the funding for light bulb implementation in Jefferson Parish. Green Light New Orleans is home to the energy efficient light bulb program and the backyard vegetable garden program as well as a rain barrel pilot program funded by the Greater New Orleans Foundation.  Green Light’s energy efficient light bulb exchange program has served 26,000 homes with the help of 13,000 volunteers. The backyard vegetable garden program has installed over 500 backyard gardens to date with 300 more individuals on the waiting list, contributing to a growing and vibrant community of gardeners in New Orleans.

The grant money will be distributed among all Green Light’s initiatives which promote environmental awareness and sustainability in New Orleans. Executive Director Andreas Hoffmann says, “We are excited that the Allianz Foundation supports all our initiatives with this inclusive grant and understands that the energy efficient light bulbs, backyard vegetable gardens, the teaching garden and the rain barrel program are all connected to move New Orleans residents towards a sustainable lifestyle.”

The Urban Conservancy will use funding to further efforts to remove excessive paving in neighborhoods and to reduce stormwater run-off.  Since its founding in 2001, the Urban Conservancy has catalyzed sustainable solutions to New Orleans’ distinct land use needs through community and K­12 education and neighborhood­-level engagement. Dana Eness, Executive Director of the Urban Conservancy, states: “Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath made it impossible to ignore subsidence, flooding, aging infrastructure, and coastal erosion.  We at the Urban Conservancy were compelled to take a leadership role in raising public awareness about the need to redefine our relationship with water through integrated water management strategies and systems. The Front Yard Initiative literally brings real solutions to our water challenges right to the doorsteps of New Orleans’ residents.”

Eness and Hoffmann have issued a joint statement: “We are thrilled about this opportunity to partner and bring sustainable services to the New Orleans community.”

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About Green Light: Green Light New Orleans is an environmental nonprofit serving the local community through installation of free energy efficient light bulbs and backyard vegetable gardens. The energy efficient lightbulb program has been exchanging light bulbs since 2012. The backyard vegetable program has been installing gardens at the homes of individuals since 2006. Green Light is currently implementing the rain barrel pilot program. Green Light connects New Orleans residents to relevant, local opportunities and encourages individual actions so that everyone can benefit from a vibrant, resilient, and sustainable community. Green Light New Orleans is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. http://www.greenlightneworleans.org/

About the Urban Conservancy: The Urban Conservancy catalyzes equitable practices and policies related to land use and the local economy in New Orleans.  It has been involved in numerous initiatives designed to support citywide water management goals including the Lafitte Greenway; the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative; BASIN, a water literacy and environmental stewardship program for children; and the Front Yard Initiative, which helps homeowners reduce unwanted paving and install water-smart landscaping. The Urban Conservancy is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. http://www.urbanconservancy.org/

About Allianz Foundation of North America: The financial services companies of the worldwide Allianz Group share a fundamental concern for safeguarding the future. In all areas of their business, Allianz Group companies find a common purpose in empowering people to manage risks and plan well for the future, and they do this in the interest of numerous stakeholders, ­ customers, employees, shareholders and society itself. The Foundation is committed to creating sustainable social value by partnering with programs that help young people develop the skills, motivation, perspectives and opportunities they need to be successful, self-­reliant and socially conscious members of society. We also seek to facilitate dialogue and networking among our diverse not-­for­-profit partners so that together we can maximize the social impact of our work.  https://www.allianz.com/en/responsibility/foundation_north_america/afna.html

Update 5

Jan 2016

Urban Conservancy Staff : CHERYL GERBER PHOTOGRAPH

Urban Conservancy in St. Charles Avenue

“The UC’s Front Yard Initiative gets a great feature. “I’m really excited about our program in schools for kids, as well as the homeowners, on exciting and really fun ways that they can make their city more beautiful by paving less and planting more,” she says.

For homeowners who already have paved yards, the Front Yard Initiative can help them tackle the technical and financial challenges that are involved in removing the pavement. By providing resources and examples of other homeowners who have completed the renovation, the initiative can help make the process easier.”

Update 4

Dec 2015

Green Infrastructure in Your Future

Space is limited.  Register Today!

What:  Stormwater Management Workshop

Where: BioInnovation Center, 1441 Canal St, New Orleans LA  70112

When:  Thursday, December 10, 2015, 8 am – 3 pm

Who:  Contractors, architects, planners and others working on commercial and residential projects in Orleans Parish will learn the basics of stormwater management, regulations, and construction, and how building stormwater management expertise can increase business and profit.  Participants will also learn about new permeable paving and other products on the market.

Approved by the LSLBC for 6 hours of CE credit for Licensed Residential Contractors.

Presented by: LCIA, Dana Brown & Associates, and the Urban Conservancy.

Lunch is $15; the course is free. Register today!

Update 3

Apr 2015

The UC, Front Yard Initiative and smart water management all got some great coverage from the Lens’ “Breakfast with the Newsmakers: A look behind the Headlines” series. Watch as Karen Gabois interviews Dana of the effects of excessive paving and what is being done to reverse this troubling trend.

Update 2

Feb 2015

Valmont home-owners meeting
The Valmont team hard at work

After several meetings with Valmont homeowners, Evans + Lighter Landscape Architects and other water professionals, we finalized design and moved closer towards construction! We were all excited to witness the transformation of Valmont Street from a flood-prone concrete corridor to a shining example of how green infrastructure can be utilized to manage stormwater sustainably in New Orleans’ neighborhoods.

Update 1

Sep 2014

Dana discusses FYI and the problems related to excessive paving
Dana discusses FYI and the problems related to excessive paving

Dana presented for Parkway Partner’s Green Keepers program on the effects of excessive paving and the exciting alternatives proposed by FYI. The Green Keepers program focuses on green infrastructure and how it can drastically improve how we live with stormwater in New Orleans.

Resources

Here are some resources we’ve assembled to get you on your way to a greener yard and less flood-prone city. The Urban Conservancy is providing this on an informational basis only.

Property owners should engage in the necessary due diligence before entering into any contractual relationship with vendors or service providers. If you ever have any questions, run into difficulties, or need help finding a service provider, call us at 504-717-6187 or email felice@urbanconservancy.org and we will be happy to help.

 1. Conditions Assessment

For $100, hire a licensed landscape architecture firm that specializes in storm water management to recommend features to install and where based on current soil and drainage conditions on your lot.
Dana Brown & Associates, info@danabrownassociates.com Check out her great bookUsing Plants for Stormwater Management

Evans+Lighter

Other Assessment opportunities:
DesignJones LLC

Groundwork New Orleans:  A nonprofit available to businesses, residents, and neighborhoods for consultation and installation services, providing site specific advice; advice plus project management; advice and an installation kit; or total installation of raingardens. Contact: info@groundworknola.org

2. Engineering Firms

Building & Earth– Scott Smith, P.E. – Branch Manager

“Our goal is to provide a one stop shop for your storm water detention needs.  We provide quality work at an affordable price and strive to get your storm water detention requirements performed correctly the first time in a timely and affordable manor.”    spsmith@BuildingAndEarth.com (504)-471-9994

3. Concrete Demo & Removal

You’ve got your assessment and you feel ready to tackle the landscaping yourself, but want to outsource the concrete demo and removal. There are a number of licensed contractors who will remove your concrete for a per square foot rate, which will vary on the amount and type of impermeable surfacing you wish to remove. Ask the company what they do with the concrete that is removed; it’s best if they have plans to recycle it. As we identify affordable providers we will add them here.

Rue Contractors (Mike Richard): 504-723-9072

Concrete Doctor:(985) 718-6797, concretedoctor@cox.net

When You Remove Concrete

You or your contractor will dial LA One Call to identify underground utilities before you dig. The Urban Conservancy strongly advises you to also get information from the S&WB Engineering Department about underground waterlines on your property. If you have trouble getting that information from the S&WB, contact the UC and we will assist.

4.Native Plants

Native plants are an important part of green infrastructure. They absorb more water and take less maintenance than non-natives and are built to thrive in our climate and have high tolerance for both wet and dry conditions.

Almost Eden– Louisiana native plants for purchase online – and they ship!

Native Plant Resource-Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

Tips for growing the Louisiana Iris– A great site for in-depth information. See also: Identifying Iris impostors 

5. Landscaping

Landscape Architects
Evans+Lighter
DesignJones LLC
Asakura Robinsonalexandra@asakurarobinson.com

Landscapers
EcoUrban Landscaping– concrete removal, landscaping, TrueGrid
Erik Arnold Landscaping Services(504) 481-3676, erikarnold1@gmail.com –concrete removal, landscaping
Greenman Dan – concrete removal, landscaping, TrueGrid

6. Permeable Pavement

An alternative to traditional concrete that lets water soak through it and back into the ground. TRUEGRID Pavers

Quality Sitework Materials– certified TRUEGRID distributor
TJ Truxillo, Business Development ttruxillo@qualitysitework.com
W:855-469-2015 C:985-859-9681

By going through TJ you receive a discount on TrueGrid, support, and installation supervision.  Mention the FYI program!

Check out the parking lot at Parkway Bakery and Tavern for a local example of implementation!

7. Soil Conditioning

A couple of local companies can provide you with composted and other materials that will provide you with optimal planting conditions. Check out these innovative local businesses:
Grounds to Ground is a New Orleans start-up that creates a natural pest repellent and soil conditioner made from recycled coffee waste.
Laughing Buddha Nursery has bulk soil, mulch, compost, and so much more to keep your yard happy.

8. Catch Basin Cleanup

Check your drains and see if they are blocked with leaves and other debris. Go ahead and clean them out yourself, or gather your neighbors or Neighborhood Association to set up a storm drain cleaning  event. You’d be surprised how easy it is, and how much cleaning out one drain helps!

9. Maintenance

Your new landscaping is installed and looking beautiful. Keep it that way and help grow our skilled landscape maintenance workforce by hiring nonprofit Groundwork New Orleans, a nonprofit that provides training in water-wise landscape installation and maintenance to high school students. Hire Groundwork to provide semi-monthly maintenance and by doing so, know you’re creating jobs for young New Orleanians.

10. Spread the Word

Call us at 717-6187 or email info@urbanconservancy.org to request door hangers with information about FYI to share with your friends and neighbors.

 

LINKS
Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan
Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative
Article 23
Article 23 Compliance 
Front Yard Ambassadors Program – San Francisco, CA
Depave – Portland, OR
EPA – Stormwater Management
EPA – Green Infrastructure

Videos

Managing Water in New Orleans- from Dana Brown & Associates
The Bowl- How New Orleans Became a “Bowl”

 

FAQs

How much will it cost?

Concrete removal costs will vary, but $2.50 a square foot seems to be average.

Who can I contact from the city with questions?

Email stormwater@nola.gov

Or visit One Stop Shop (7th floor of City Hall) on Wednesdays to speak to a City Planner familiar with stormwater techniques.

Where do I report a leak or other construction site problems?

To report water leaks, sewer leaks or any other related field problems please fill out this Report a Field Problem online form.

http://www.swbno.org/form_reportaleak.asp

Glossary of Terms

Article 23

Article 23 of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (effective August 12, 2015) provides requirements for landscape, stormwater management and screening.
The intent of the stormwater regulations is to encourage sustainable development practices in new development or redevelopment projects, reduce urban runoff into the existing drainage system, diminish subsidence rates, and to comply with federal, state, and local regulations for urban stormwater management. This can be accomplished by slowing the surface flow of stormwater runoff and promoting filtration, plant uptake, absorption, and infiltration into sub-soils.

Bioswale

A channeled depression or trench that receives and holds rainwater runoff (as from a parking lot) and has vegetation (such as grasses, flowering plants) that rids the water of pollutants. These slow water entering the drainage system during storms.

Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO)

The Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) is the law that governs land use throughout the City of New Orleans. The CZO includes lists of permitted land uses for each of the City’s zoning districts, in addition to height limits, setback requirements, urban design standards, operational rules, and other regulations.

Green Infrastructure

A design element for a property that uses landscaped systems or engineered systems that mimic natural systems

Groundwater

Water present beneath the Earth's surface

Impervious (non-permeable)

Does not allow water to be absorbed into or through surface, as in concrete, asphalt, roofs

Permeable (pervious)

Allows water to be absorbed into or through the surface, as in permeable paving

Rain Garden

A planted depression that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, and compacted lawn areas to be absorbed into the earth

Recharged Groundwater

A hydrologic process where water moves downward from surface water to groundwater.

Stormwater Runoff

Rainwater that does not soak into the ground but flows over impervious areas or areas already saturated with water

Subsidence

The lowering of a portion of the Earth's crust

Subsidence occurs when large amounts of groundwater have been withdrawn from certain types of soil, such as fine-grained sediments like we have in New Orleans. The soil compacts because the water is partly responsible for holding the ground up. When the water is withdrawn, the soil falls in on itself, causing damage to property and streets (think foundation issues and potholes).

FYI Pilot Projects

Inspiration Around Town – FYI Resource List Projects

Take Action


Ready to apply for FYI? Fill out the form below, BUT FIRST read the FYI Terms & Conditions + Guidelines and review the FYI Project Checklist.


 
Call: 504-717-6187 or email felice@urbanconservancy.org