When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency supplied more than 100,000 mobile homes for residents to use while recovering from the tragedy.
Before last week, if such a disaster would have struck Georgetown, FEMA trailers would not have been allowed in most areas of the city.
That changed with the adoption of a new ordinance to allow these types of mobile homes in the city in emergency situations.
The ordinance — give final approval on Jan. 19 — gives the city’s Building and Planning Department the authority to grant temporary permits for the FEMA housing.
If a disaster declared by the Mayor of the City or if the governor declares a state of emergency, the city’s building and planning director can suspend zoning district requirements to accommodate housing and essential needs, the ordinance states.
The temporary housing will be allowed for one year. At he end of that time, a review will take place to determine if an extension is needed.
Although the vote to approve the ordinance was unanimous, there was some concern expressed by Councilman Rudolph Bradley.
He feels it should be left up to the city administrator, not the mayor, to declare a disaster. He said the administrator is more closely tied to what is going on in the city than the mayor.
By Scott Harper