, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

March 25, 2008

Groves resident gets fined; gets fine house

After Hurricane Rita, Melody Miller lived in a trailer home for months. When the city of Groves said she and others must not live in trailer homes on their property, she continued to do so. On Tuesday, she got fined.

Miller is back in her home, which she says is better than ever, but Miller was summoned to court for the time she continued to live in the trailer on her property on Hogaboom Road in Groves. A Groves Municipal Court jury ruled Miller should be fined $1,000.

“It was a situation that we had to revert for the courts,” Steve Sanborn, Groves building official, said. “A Groves municipal jury found her guilty of habitation in a recreational vehicle outside of a trailer park.”

For months in 2007, the Action Committee for Displaced Citizens worked with about 50 individuals still living in trailers while their homes were undergoing repair after the 2005 hurricane. Over time, residents came within compliance in an attempt to beautify the city, Sanborn said.

Miller credited Nehemiah’s Vision, a group helping hundreds of local residents with after-storm repairs, for getting her home in livable condition.

After the storm she was living in a FEMA trailer parked in front of her home, which she eventually bought. The trailer is now behind her freshly-painted home, and it is legal for her to keep it there as a recreational vehicle, as long as she is not living in it.

Miller said she may have to sell the trailer to pay the fine.

“I’m not really mad. I just don’t think it’s really fair how it went down. A little person like me can’t go up against educated lawyers. I’m a regular high school graduate and I don’t know anything about law,” Miller said.

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