If newly elected city councilman Joe Marino III has his way, the small city of Gretna, Louisiana, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans on the Gulf of Mexico side, will ban vinyl siding on new construction and remodeling projects in the city's two historic districts. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has the story here (see: "Gretna considers vinyl siding ban for construction, renovation in historic districts," by Andrea Shaw).
"Councilman Marino is sponsoring the measures to protect and preserve Louisiana's second largest historic district, after New Orleans," reports the Times-Picayune. "The moves also would put Gretna in line to participate in Louisiana's Main Street program, which helps revitalize downtown areas."
Marino says the city's historic character is the reason he lives in Gretna, and also the reason he ran for City Council after serving for eight years on the city's Historic District Advisory Committee. Marino is also the sponsor of a measure that would give the Historic District Advisory Committee authority to make decisions about the appropriateness of projects in the historic district, with the City Council serving as an appeals body. Under the town's current system, the Advisory Committee only makes recommendations, with the City Council making decisions at a monthly meeting and the 24th Judicial District Court hearing appeals.
Marino makes no secret of his disapproval of vinyl siding, reports the paper: "Marino said he is pushing the issue because vinyl is not compatible with homes that are 100 years or older, would accelerate deterioration of houses with rotted siding or termite damage and would diminish property values of residents whose preservation efforts retained period details. 'When you throw siding on top of an old building, you lose the architectural features that make it a historic home,' he said."