Port Arthur spells out policy to allow workforce housing

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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The city of Port Arthur has amended its zoning ordinance to regulate the constructions of movable workforce housing structures primarily for construction, industrial or oilfield-related workers.

Adding the temporary structures would help the city generate more tax revenue from a boon of workers coming to the city to work jobs related to expansion projects at oil refineries and other industries.

“We continue to see that it provides dividends for us,” City Manager Ron Burton said. “We will continue to look at the ordinance as it’s presented and add pieces to it to make sure it serves the city and citizens of Port Arthur by creating that positive economic impact for us.”

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Engineering consultant and former city employee Dr. Hani Tohme estimated in November that 25,000 people would come to Port Arthur for the expansion jobs.

Those who construct workforce housing, commonly known as man camps, must apply for a permit with the city’s planning and development department and post a reclamation bond. Any improvements to a workforce housing site cannot be done without obtaining a building permit.

The license fee for sites with 1-50 units is $300, with an annual renewal of $150 and $100 for a license transfer. Sites with more than 50 units require a fee of $550 with annual renewals of $250 and $150 for a license transfer.

Violators of the ordinance can face a fine of up to $2,000. Each day of such violation is considered a separate offense.

In other city business:

  • The Port Arthur Health Department will receive $117,500 in additional funding from the Healthy Texas Babies initiative, which was developed to help communities decrease the infant mortality rate using evidence-based interventions. Community stakeholders, healthcare providers and insurance companies back the initiative.

The city will have received $349,375 over a four-year period through Aug. 31, 2021.

  • The Department of State Health Services will extend its contract with the city through Aug. 31, 2021, and is adding $162,630 to a total grant of $487,890. The amendment will allow the Port Arthur Health Department to continue its immunization program for children, adolescents and adults.

The amendment will take effect Sept. 1 and will fund salaries and fringe benefits for three full-time employees.

  • The city will pay $10,269.89 to LaBiche Architectural Group to complete repairs at Rose Hill Manor on Woodworth Boulevard. The historical home is undergoing exterior chimney and flashing restoration for compliance with Texas Historical Commission standards.
  • The city will accept unimproved property from Legacy Community Development Corp. for the purpose of expanding space for St. Mary Park at 1000 5th Street.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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