Proposal would allow Katrina cottages in Hattiesburg neighborhoods

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - When presented with a plan for housing and urban development, it wasn't very well received by the Hattiesburg city council.

"It's going to be a glorified trailer park looking thing," said councilwoman Deborah Delgado.

The city's urban development director, Pattie Brantley, presented the council with a proposed ordinance which would amend sections of the city's land development code, allowing Mississippi cottages, better know as Katrina cottages to become permanent parts of neighborhoods.

"They're required to put it on piers and brick around the piers so that it looks like a neighborhood setting," said Brantley.

The proposed ordinance would allow non-profit groups to buy up the cottages and place them where needed. Delgado says that means one thing; depressed communities.

"All of these structures are pretty much going to go in ward two. [We] can't have that, we have a greater plan for ward two," said Delgado. "It's cute, it's a quick fix. It helps a non-profit to do what it states as it's mission for the moment, but it's inconsistent with what we need in Ward Two."

Cottage communities are already in place on the Gulf Coast and Brantley says if allowed, the cottages would have permanent foundations and the owners would even be able to file for homestead exemption.

Delgado says she would work to make sure a plan like this never happens.

"We are half stepping and giving them something that's painted bright and yellow and cute. That's not going to in the long term add to the over all quality of life for the people of Hattiesburg," said Delgado. "What I see down the line is you're going to stick one of these things next to somebody and reduce the value of their home."

Councilman Henry Naylor is concerned with the lack of input from the neighborhoods, mainly since the plan is now an agenda item to be voted on.

"I am concerned about we have established neighborhood groups and associations and if they're not involved in this on the front end, I really don't think we're doing them justice," said Naylor.

The council agrees more input is needed before action is taken on the proposal and plans to set up a public hearing.

"I absolutely, positively do not want to see this for Hattiesburg," said Delgado.

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