Beaumont city council denies Habitat for Humanity trailers in Old Town lot

Habitat for Humanity is searching for a location where visiting volunteers can stay during Harvey recovery

BEAUMONT - Beaumont City Council is telling Habitat for Humanity it needs to find another location to bring in volunteers assisting in Tropical Storm Harvey recovery.

On Tuesday, council members voted against allowing trailers to park in a lot in Old Town on the corner of Smart street and Seventh street. The lot is owned by Habitat for Humanity’s Jefferson County chapter.

Executive director, Miriam Morgan says the organization is lining up other options.

"It was disappointing because we were hoping to get the trained disaster responders a place to stay here, but getting before city council has opened up some doors for us," Morgan said.

Michael Wise has lived in his home on Seventh and Rusk street for several years. He has seen no development on the land.

"No one's ever stayed in that spot as long as I've been here, and it's just sitting there," Wise said.

Councilmember Audwin Samuel of Ward Three was one of two council members who were in favor of the trailers being placed there.

"I felt that this too was part of the disaster relief and recovery, in that these are individuals who are working to help restore people's homes,” Samuel said.

Councilmember Robin Mouton of Ward Four says that along with the area being in Beaumont’s historical district, she agreed with the city’s Planning and Zoning Department that the safety of nearby residents was at risk.

Mouton says Planning and Zoning did not recommend the trailers be placed on the lot.

"That neighborhood, and Planning and Zoning felt it would be a safety issue where the trailers would be positioned," Mouton said.

Mouton says that other homeowners in Beaumont who suffered damage from Tropical Storm Harvey are allowed to live in travel trailers on their property during the rebuilding stages.

Wise feels that an exception can be made for volunteers who want to help rebuild.

"It seems to be a good cause and a good reason to move to that spot,” Wise said.

Morgan says that local volunteers are already assisting in Harvey recovery efforts. Volunteers from out of town could stay up to a year, according to Morgan.

Councilmember Mouton says residents who experienced damage from Tropical Storm Harvey can stay in trailers on their property for at least one year.

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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