Dozens of renters face eviction

Monday, February 13, 2012 - 9:20am

Dozens of renters face eviction in Sabine Parish after officials discovered the Solan Camp mobile home park is unlawfully letting the property. Jim Pratt, executive director of the Sabine River Authority, said it goes back to regulations that have been in place for decades around Toledo Bend. According to federal law, there must be a "buffer zone" around the water, to prevent sewage from flooding into the river. That rule has been in place for decades, but until now, Solan Camp's managers were able to pay a fine to avoid the renters' eviction.

Pratt said the land belongs to the state and is leased to the property managers. "[It] has restrictions on it and one of the biggest restrictions was no habitable structures and no sewage facilities," he said.

The buffer zone includes at least 20 homes in the park, which are owned by the tenants themselves. However, not all the mobile homes can be easily moved, said Darrell Jones, whose mother has lived at Solan Camp for 40 years. "The places that we're in, they're old. You try and move them, they're going to fall apart, so we're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place," he said.

The eviction notices have been hard on the whole community, said Thomas Trahan, who's lived at the park since 1982. "I was devastated because I don't have a job and I don't have the finances to be able to move and through the years...I've been here, there's add-ons, additions."

The SRA says Solan Camp managers have been given several months to remove the mobile homes or its leasing agreement with the state will be terminated. Eviction notices distributed to tenants say they have 6 months to move their homes.

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