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FEMA villages drawing skepticism from neighboring businesses in Charlotte County

FEMA Village Port Charlotte
Posted at 4:56 PM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 19:39:32-05

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Charlotte County Commissioners unanimously agreed to bring back FEMA villages for renters displaced by Hurricane Ian.

The two sites are located at:

  1. 4135 Kings Highway
  2. 6572 Kevitt Blvd

The location off Kings Highway, county leaders said can house around 180 trailers, while the other location off Kevitt Boulevard can hold about 55 trailers.

Charlotte County leaders said over 500 households qualify for this project.

On Wednesday, across the street from the Kings Highway location, sits Townsend Glass, and its owner Gene Townsend.

“I am not…very happy,” said Townsend.

Townsend’s displeasure was not coming from the overall state of the soon-to-be FEMA trailer village, but he said from the county’s last run-in with these villages after Hurricane Charlie in 2004.

“After Charlie thats pretty much where everybody went to get their drugs, so thats the thing that worries me,” said Townsend.

A worry Charlotte County Planning and Zoning Official, Shaun Cullinan did not specifically address, but he did touch on past security concerns during recent commissioners meeting to approve the project.

“This was the last option, always has been after their issues with Charlie,” said Cullinan.

The option however, according to Cullinan, will help house over 500 families whose rentals were destroyed by Ian

Cullinan told commissioners both sites are equipped to handle FEMA trailers.

“Beautiful part about both of these is that they already have the infrastructure available to them,” said Cullinan.

Townsend said past experiences coupled with people living in tents nearby, had him adding to his current security infrastructure.

“There are few items that sometimes go missing, so we had to get a camera system. Now we are going to put a better camera system up,” said Townsend.

On Thursday, the FEMA representative Fox 4 spoke with, was unable to give a timeline for when these trailers would start showing up.

Townsend tells Fox 4, as long as it’s truly helping people in his community, he is cool with it.

“I have no problem with that. It's can you control it? Yes? Okay then I'm cool with it,” said Townsend.