City-parish chief says measure too broad
LAFAYETTE — City-Parish President Joey Durel vetoed regulations that the City-Parish Council approved earlier this month to ban the use of travel trailers as permanent homes in rural Lafayette Parish, saying the measure was too broad.
The council could vote Tuesday to override that veto, but Durel’s action seems likely to stand, because six votes are needed to trump his veto and the travel trailer ordinance passed Oct. 16 by only a 5-4 vote of the council.
In a written veto message, Durel left open the possibility of tweaking the travel trailer regulations to address his questions, then having the revised ordinance come back to the council for approval.
The regulations would have banned a travel trailer from being used as a residence for more than 180 days in any calendar year in unincorporated areas of the parish.
Zoning laws already prohibit living in a travel trailer within Lafayette city limits.
Planning, Zoning and Codes Director Eleanor Bouy said earlier this month that the proposed regulations were prompted in part by a growing number of complaints about homeowners renting space in their driveways for travel trailers to be used as makeshift apartments.
Durel and some council members have questioned whether the proposed travel trailer restrictions would make it difficult for construction and oil-and-gas businesses to house out-of-town workers here for long-term projects.
Durel also wrote in his veto message that he believed the regulations were too broad and should not apply to more modern, high-end travel trailers built to standards that allow for them to be safely used as permanent homes.
When the ordinance came before the council for a vote earlier this month, Gauthiers’ RV Center owner Jim Gauthier was a vocal critic.
He acknowledged safety issues with living long-term in some travel trailers, mainly old FEMA trailers, but he said the travel trailers he sells are high-quality, safe units that are suitable for long-term housing.