Bridge City council members said Tuesday they want to get started on the wrap-up of FEMA unit situations. In a workshop, they talked about sending notices mapping out deadlines to vacate temporary housing. Workshops do not constitute final council approval.

There are about 131 units still under contract to FEMA, and some 109 purchased by homeowners who may or may not be living in them, Mayor Kirk Roccaforte said.

Under the proposal, Roccaforte said the city would be willing to consider extensions in special situations.

“The notices should say they should vacate by March 12, even though FEMA has extended the deadline to July 9,” Roccaforte said. “We will work with them if they are having problems, but we need to see some kind of progress taking place.” He said if residents can’t make the deadline, they can fill out an application at city hall explaining the delay and what they plan to do about it. 

“I’m sure there are going to be many different situations,” said Mayor Pro-tem Kevin Mott.

“I know there are some cases where people are in trailers and never had a house to start with. They were renters,” Roccaforte said.

He added, “We’re not looking to put people out of temporary housing … We want to give as much leeway as we can, but at some point we’re going to have to say, ‘Hey, we can’t do this anymore.’”
Roccaforte said there could be fines or other penalties for non-compliance.

“There are so many more units coming online everyday, there’s no excuse for not having bought one by now,” said Councilman Robert Simonton.

Another issue for discussion in the future includes residents living in travel-trailers, City Manager Jerry Jones said.

“I don’t think there are too many of those,” Roccaforte said.

“I don’t think there are many wanting to be,” said Mott. “I didn’t take me too long to get out of [mine].”

Jones said units cannot be stripped of their wheels and used as a shed in one’s backyard, according to city ordinances. However, one can live in a unit inside an RV park if that unit meets the requirements of the park.