Board decides ‘no’ on permanent travel trailer housing

Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Use of travel trailers as permanent housing has been officially denied in Pearl River County, whether they are from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or not.

Chief Building Inspector Kirk Pichon said he discussed the matter with the Department of Housing and Urban Development who sent him information defining a travel trailer. According to the document from HUD, a travel trailer is, “designed primarily not for use as permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel or seasonal use.”

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors will not issue permits for the travel trailers as permanent housing.

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At a previous board meeting a resident asked for permission to use the travel trailer she recently purchased from an individual who purchased it at auction. The travel trailer was a FEMA travel trailer, but since she purchased it from an individual, it did not adhere to FEMA regulations.

“The problem we’re having is turning a travel trailer into somebody’s permanent housing,” Lumpkin said.

Mike Womack, deputy Director for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said that the only times travel trailers were used as permanent homes were when the expensive travel trailers were used in certain counties of Arizona and south Florida.

“We don’t want people buying (a travel trailer) thinking they can live in it permanently,” Womack said.

District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said he is concerned people working towards a new place to live may be left out in the cold.

“They just don’t know what to do,” Hales said about those who do not make enough to fix their home.

The main problem with travel trailers is they are not coded for wind resistance for hurricane prone areas such as southern Mississippi. Emergency Operations Manager Bobby Strahan said this county requires all homes to meet wind zone two requirements, which travel trailers do not meet.

To try to combat the limited housing problem, Womack said that he could try to get some mobile homes that meet wind zone three requirements donated for needy families but they would still need to be strapped and blocked at an additional cost. Lumpkin said a list of needy families would need to be drawn up to accommodate those who have a place to put the home, but cannot afford one.

Womack said he is aware that if a FEMA mobile home, not a travel trailer, is on an approved lot then FEMA will sell the mobile home to the occupant.

The board also heard charges from county resident Al Saucer that some rule makers are making up rules to benefit themselves.

“There are many things in the county that are a mess,” Saucer’s wife, Suzanne, said.

Saucer said some bureaucrats are making up laws to benefit themselves. Board president Danny Wise said he hopes there are not any people in county government doing that.

“Making up their own rules and regulations is not in their scope of work,” Wise said.

The main complaint the couple had concerned the septic tank permit process residents must go through. Wise said that they must first go to the 911 Addressing Office to get a correct address of the lot and then a perk test would be performed by the Health Department. Suzanne Saucer said when she went to the Health Department they told her to go to the Utility Authority first, but she did not know where their office was located. Wise told her it is located in the same office as Dungan Engineering in Picayune.

When the Saucers expressed their distaste for the need of septic tank inspections to be conducted every five years, Lumpkin said that rule applies to new septic tanks and existing ones only if the home is sold.

Brooks Wallace, with Dungan Engineering, said that currently residents can get a septic tank permit by going to 911 Addressing first, then the Utility Authority to ensure lot size is adequate and then the Health Department will finish the permitting process with their perk test. Usually the process can be completed in one day, Wallace said.

Pat Miramon addressed the board about a piece of property at the corner of U.S. 11 and Ivy Street in the Ozona community. A building there needs major repairs and cleaning, she said. Miramon said she is most concerned for her mother who lives in the area.

“It’s not only an embarrassment to the community it’s also a traffic hazard,” Miramon said. “I don’t know why I am the only person addressing the board about this problem.”

“You’re not,” said Robert Thigpen, District 4 supervisor.

Holmes said Pichon has served a notice to the owner to clean the property but there is still a lengthy appeals process to go through.

Soon Waste Management will go back to using estimated tare weights as county residents come trough the scales to dump their waste, speeding up the process. In previous Solid Waste Advisory meetings Richard Swenson brought up the fact that estimated tare weights are not efficient since they don’t account for many variances in loads, vehicles and passengers carried in the vehicle. Waste Management Regional Manager Mike Hall said having to weigh each vehicle in and out is taking too much time and causing some residents to be turned away after closing time if they are not in the gates.

“That is not a good thing,” Hales said.

“No it’s not,” Hall said.

Waste Management will go back to using estimated tare weights for county residents who drop off their garbage.

The board went into executive session on pending litigation in tax office.

In other business the board:

— Acknowledged receipt of a letter requesting modification of the solid waste master plan for Lamar county.

— Approved issuing checks to Don Ginn Appraisal and Dungan Engineering and authorized board president to sign request for reimbursement of $1,088 under MEMA hazard mitigation grant for appraisal of a repetitive flood property, which declined to go with the buy out because they could not absorb the 25 percent match.

— Approved the purchase of property at 5371 Miss. 53 for county use.

— Acknowledged receipt of a check for $12,000 from Norfolk Southern to build the walking track in Carriere off Old Hwy. 11.

Supervisors next meet at 9 a.m. Nov. 6 in the county courthouse.