Livingston Parish council advances rules to help speed up flood recovery

Livingston Parish council advances rules to help speed up flood recovery
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The Livingston Parish council passed two ordinances Thursday aimed at speeding up the recovery process after the flood.

Both measures advanced unanimously and without objection from the panel.

One of the new emergency ordinances lifts the ban on mobile homes on properties, allowing people to install the units next to their homes while they rebuild.

"You've got to set a lot of things aside for a while to help our people get back in to some sort of normalcy," said Parish President Layton Ricks, who supported the measure.

The plan was not without objections from community members, however. Some of them feared that lifting the ban would allow for a repeat of what happened after Katrina, where some FEMA trailers still remain a decade later.

"In the trying times ahead, these manufactured homes may become an easier and more financially feasible solution to a citizen's permanent housing need," said Walker resident Taryn Creekbaum.

Ricks assured the council that the units would be only allowed temporarily.

As part of the ordinance, individuals with the mobile homes on their property would have to get a permit in six-month installments. The cap would be at 18 months.

"Right now I've got somewhere between 70,000 and 90,000 people that want to be back on their property as fast as we can get them there," Ricks said.

With the cleanup process still underway across much of the parish, the council also passed an ordinance allowing "right of entry" to clean-up crews onto private property.

Because many roads are narrow in the parish, people have been forced to stack debris into their yards. The new rule would allow clean-up teams to enter the private property up to 30 feet without getting permission from the owner.

"That protects the parish, the contractor, but in the long run it protects the homeowner," Ricks said.

Parish leaders did not wish to give a timeline on how long it will take to complete debris pick-up. As a worst-case scenario, however, it could still be several months.

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