Going forward, Mississippi cottages will be treated as mobile homes in Gulfport.
The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the new classification for the Katrina disaster housing, which means cottages can be placed only in areas where mobile homes are allowed. State law, the state fire marshal’s office and the modular-home industry classify the cottages as modular homes.
The city will allow residents of 22 cottages to move forward with purchase of their units, which are in residential neighborhoods, from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. MEMA runs the cottage program. A total of 140 cottages are in the city. With the cottage program coming to an end, those that have not qualified for permanent placement are expected to be removed.
Mayor George Schloegel said the city will work with MEMA to finalize permanent placement for cottages that can remain in neighborhoods. The council has acknowledged the sturdy homes with front porches and metal roofs blend well in some residential areas.
The Mississippi Center for Justice sued the city of Waveland over its ordinance limiting cottages to mobile-home parks. MCJ maintained the Waveland Board of Aldermen’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated the constitutional rights of cottage residents there.
Canter said MCJ is reviewing the Gulfport ordinance before deciding what, if any, action to take.