Sulphur High Twisters recognized at Sulphur City Council meeting

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023

At the Monday Council meeting, a winning Sulphur High School team and artist were celebrated and Sulphur Mayor Mike Danahay announced the City of Sulphur Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday, April 1, at 10 a.m.

“If you’re coming, don’t be late. Last year, all 15,000 eggs were picked up by 10:05,” the Mayor said. (Areas are cordoned off for different age and ability groups. Admission is free and held at The Grove.)

Five of six Council members voted to raise the cost of some of the City’s building permits. All voted to get rid of the term “grandfathered” as it relates to certain nonconforming property, and they voted unanimously to add language to the development ordinance that lists prohibited dwellings.

Sulphur High School Twisters dominated at a recent national competition and the City of Sulphur wants to spread the word. Mayor Danahay presented a proclamation to the Sulphur High School team for placing 4th in the Nation for Jazz, 5th in the Nation for Pom and 14th in the Nation for Game Day at the Feb. 6 Universal Dance Association (UDA) Competition held in Orlando, Florida.

“It’s only the second time the team has attended the competition,” Danahay noted.

In an effort to bring awareness to the community regarding pollutants that can end up in stormwater drainage, the City of Sulphur requested the help of a Sulphur High School Art Class under the direction of Shelby Matte. Art students were taxed with producing a memorable theme and graphic. Art student Karleigh Benoit’s design with the theme, “Only Rain Down the Drain, ‘’ was chosen winner from 12 submissions. It will be featured on the City of Sulphur Stormwater pamphlets and placed on stormwater drains in the City.

The price of everything is going up and that includes permit fees. Council members voted to raise certain building fees. Nic Nezat voted against the increases.

Sulphur resident Sheila Broussard said she understands that most citizens will be able to pay the $5 to $10 increase in demolition, gas, electrical, house moving, plumbing, portable building, grading and other permits.

For example, the permit to move a double wide home went from $80 to $85. The plumbing permit to change the sewer line went from $15 to $25.

However, she suggested that in the future, The City review permit fees annually.

If an increase is needed to provide services – Finance Director Jennifer Thorn said fees are not revenue producing – it would be best to do it gradually at a lower percentage, raising it incrementally year by year. Mayor Danahay and Thorn agreed.

Public Works Director Austin Abrahams is tightening up the language in some of The City’s ordinances and kicking out the old grandfather clause.

“Our ordinance on nonconformities does essentially what the grandfather clause does,” Abrahams explained. “Ordinary repairs and maintenance can be done on a non-conforming property, but it can’t be extended (square footage added), for instance. Also, nonconforming property owners cannot request a zoning use change, and if the structure becomes damaged or destroyed more than the 50 percent of the cost to rebuild at the time of construction, then the nonconforming use is terminated and the structure must be built back to conforming standards.”

In an effort to ease enforcement of certain development ordinances, the City is adding more specific language. At the Monday meeting, they voted to add the list of dwellings that are prohibited.

City of Sulphur residents can’t place on their property and live in a shipping container, tent, travel trailer, motor home, or portable building.

It can be a manufactured/modular home unit. In a residential area, no dwelling may be smaller than 1,000 square feet.

In a mixed residential and business district, the square footage must be at least 600 feet.

Some property owners have obtained permission to live in travel trailers and recreational vehicles as long as they show they are making progress on repairing storm damaged homes.

Information about certain City of Sulphur development and permitting ordinances discussed briefly at Monday’s meeting and included in this article do not represent enough information for Sulphur citizens to base important dwelling, grading, construction, manufactured home living, shed or house moving, new home construction, home abandonment or other decisions.

Residents are advised to contact the City of Sulphur before making these types of decisions.

Not getting a permit, for fear it is too costly or for fear plans will not meet the city’s requirements, could result in paying fines that are often double the fee cost and the discontinuation/ dismantling/demolition of the project.

The city council and the planning and zoning committee does approve some requests for variances to ordinances. The purpose of the existing and amended development and permitting ordinances is to meet the need that some Sulphur residences have expressed for a cleaner city.

The Council voted to move forward with the demolition process for four properties and the Mayor said that there has been some progress, albeit slow, on the personal property debris removal plan provided for by FEMA grant monies.