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Ronnie Hughes, president of Louisiana’s Ascension Parish, said the placement of 50 travel trailers by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in an empty mobile home park was a mistake.
According to the Ascension Citizen, a group of residents is now fighting in court to have the trailers removed.
“It is very unfortunate for our citizens, and it was never the intention of parish government to have a concentration of FEMA trailers in the parish,” Hughes said, reading from a prepared statement. “The permitting of the 50 trailers at the Oak Place Mobile Home Park should not have happened.”
In an effort to possibly atone for the miscue, Hughes vowed that his office will demand background checks on all potential residents of the trailers and added that he will create a watchdog committee to patrol the park area.
Hughes said that Chet Simpson, who owns the trailer park property, has agreed to work with the committee.
Hughes also issued two executive orders concerning all trailer parks in the unincorporated parts of the parish. The first order calls for the parish’s building official to inspect all mobile home parks and RV parks regularly, report any problems and notify the park owners by certified letter of any problems.
The second order calls for an amendment to any previous letter of no objection written by Hughes to FEMA, limiting authorization to place FEMA trailers in up to 10% of any park’s licensed lots.
Last year, the Parish Council adopted a non-binding resolution to not allow large-scale FEMA trailer parks in Ascension Parish, later opting to search for individual lots in existing trailer parks throughout the unincorporated areas of the parish.
Hughes said he did not know about the Oak Place park’s availability until “last week sometime.” However, a letter signed by Hughes dated Nov. 7, 2005, shows Oak Place Trailer Park as one of 15 parks in the parish that Hughes OK’d for FEMA to place trailers.
Megan Bell, a resident in a neighboring community, said she still intends to file a lawsuit to have the FEMA trailers removed from the park.