City Council may let FEMA trailers in flood zones

Published 5:25 pm Monday, March 12, 2018

Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers may help, at least on a temporary basis, Port Arthur residents still awaiting home repairs.

The Port Arthur City Council will consider approving waivers up to 18 months to allow manufactured homes, mobile housing units and recreational vehicles in floodplains, special flood hazard areas and to temporarily locate them in any zoning district for temporary use. That will be considered at the council’s regular meeting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

A memo from Ron Burton, director of development services, to Harvey Robinson, interim city manager, said the city of Port Arthur received a request from FEMA identifying the city as a potential recipient of temporary housing units on Oct. 24, 2017 while homes were being repaired.

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Residents receiving manufactured housing units, mobile homes and RVs that do not comply with the city’s requirements must remove the non-compliant structures from the areas where the structures are not permitted by the zoning ordinance after the 18-month period.

Also related to manufactured homes, the City Council will call a public hearing for a zoning change of 11 acres of land off Jade Avenue in Port Acres.

The Port Arthur Planning & Zoning Commission held a public meeting Feb. 19 to discuss a proposed change. The commission voted 4-0 that the request be denied based on issues involving major drainage concerns and the density and appeal of the neighborhood.

The council will also consider for approval a six-month suspension to city ordinances that limit the number of speakers to allow additional speakers related to Hurricane Harvey storm-related issues.

At the Feb. 27 regular City Council meeting, Willie “Bae” Lewis Jr., District 5 councilman, requested individuals unable to attend recent day meetings due to work or other scheduling conflicts be allowed to speak at an evening regarding storm-related issues.

Port Arthur ordinances state that for evening meetings, the city secretary shall limit the number of speakers to five as it pertains to items not listed on the Council agenda for action.

Also, Vince Tomplait will speak on the improper disposal of raw sewage and James Fedrick and Reginald Trainer will speak about sagging pants among citizens in the city of Port Arthur.

Christopher Cotton, program specialist for community and economic development at Prairie View A&M University, will give a presentation about assisting victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Rebecca Underhill, assistant to the city manger/budget officer, will give a presentation on Harvey and the Fiscal Year 2018 budget and Hani Tohme, acting director of utilities, will give a presentation regarding utility rates.