New Orleans Short On Planning Staff

Developers are having to wait longer for project approvals, which may slow the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. HUD has denied the city's request to hire more staff using federal money.

"The city's former chief technology officer says he knows of a way to hire more city planners. But federal officials say the idea won't fly.

Greg Meffert, who resigned July 14, said the city can hire more planners using community development block grants, a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The CDBG program has an allocation for planning, he said.

'I think you'd be able to get at least eight or 10 more planners,' said Meffert. The CPC staffing problem was the last action item he worked on before resigning.

HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan said block grants can pay for people to develop rebuilding plans but not to hire full-time staff."

Full Story: City Planning staff shortage slows post-K projects

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