DONALDSONVILLE — Some residents who remain in post-flood FEMA mobile homes will be offered an opportunity to buy the trailers, Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa told the parish council Thursday.
But Matassa warned that any trailers residents buy would be subject to parish restrictions based on flood plain mitigation, zoning and other development rules.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has begun to send out letters to the occupants of manufactured housing units affected by the 2016 floods about the possibility of purchasing them, FEMA spokeswoman Sharon Karr said Friday.
Karr said eligible MHU occupants must abide by local development rules and other requirements, including that occupants can only buy the manufactured housing unit they're living in, must lack a permanent housing option and must agree to insure the unit.
About 2,500 households remain in the MHUs in Louisiana, Karr said, with the majority in Ascension, Livingston and East Baton Rouge parishes. About 275 are in Ascension.
Matassa on Thursday explained how local rules in Ascension could limit who gets offers from FEMA. Ascension waived many of its development requirements for 18 months after the August 2016 flood to allow affected residents to move into the FEMA mobile homes near their houses or family.
But those rules will kick back into place for the trailers that people purchase from FEMA, Matassa said, and various restrictions apply.
For example, he said, residents might not be able to buy manufactured housing units if they live in subdivisions that normally don't allow mobile homes or who live in low-lying areas with significant flood elevation requirements might not be able to buy the mobile homes for their properties.
Matassa recommended that parish residents who are considering buying a FEMA trailer first call the parish planning and development office for help.
Councilman Todd Lambert voiced concerns that some FEMA trailers had been installed on properties at odd angles and asked Matassa if FEMA would re-install the sold trailers in a more appropriate fashion.
Planning Director Jerome Fournier responded in a later interview that the mobile homes would have to meet all parish setback and other requirements. Fournier said FEMA will pick up the cost of re-positioning the trailers and make it part of the trailer purchase price.
Council Chairman Bill Dawson also asked Matassa if anyone knew the trailers' cost.
"Nah, with FEMA, every day's a new day, you know," Matassa responded.
Though price points aren't yet available because the program has just begun, Karr said on Friday that the one-, two- and three-bedroom MHUs will be sold at an adjusted fair market value.