Board asked to consider FEMA trailer site

Published 6:00 am Thursday, February 9, 2006

Monticello may help nearly 50 families struggling to surviveafter Hurricane Katrina took everything they had.

Jimmy Barton, a resident of the town, requested the board’s helpin locating 40 to 50 Federal Emergency Management Agency trailerson property he owns along F.E. Sellers Highway.

“Time is of the utmost concern,” Barton said.

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Barton said he learned Tuesday morning that FEMA was activelysearching for locations to place trailers provided to Gulf Coastfamilies who cannot yet return home. The federal agency is alsolooking to place trailers in anticipation of next year’s hurricaneseason, which experts predict may be worse than the 2005 season, hesaid.

Unfortunately, said Mayor David Nichols, the old Chevroletdealership on F.E. Sellers Highway where Barton wants to place thetrailers is zoned for light commercial, which prohibits the placingof trailers there.

The zoning commission will have to review the request and make arecommendation to the board on whether the leave the lightcommercial designation in place or to alter the zoning toaccommodate the trailers, the mayor said. Nichols said he willarrange a meeting of the zoning commission for Barton, and theboard hopes to have a recommendation at the Feb. 22 recessedmeeting.

“I understand timing is important, but that’s the quickest wecan act,” the mayor said.

Barton has already placed nearly 10 FEMA trailers on otherproperty, but that property has filled up, he said.

In other matters, the board was informed a truck they had votedto purchase was no longer available as the automobile factoriesbegin to switch to the next model year.

Aldermen voted to spend approximately $2,000 more to purchase aslightly larger truck to carry the town’s new sewer washer. Theydecided to upgrade the truck in order to receive the vehicle inMarch rather than wait until at least June for the new model of thesmaller truck.