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Mobile home rules stalled

Kenai council holds off action on trailer parks

Posted: Monday, November 06, 2006

A proposed Kenai ordinance setting down standards for mobile homes in trailer courts drew a good deal of comment from the public last week, but the comments did not come from trailer park residents.

Among other things, the new law would require mobile homes to be inspected prior to moving into the park, foundations — if built — would need to comply to Kenai city building code and only one lean-to and one arctic entry would be permitted for each mobile home.

Public comments, however, coming almost exclusively from neighbors of Kenai mobile home parks, focused on health and sanitation issues rather than building code mandates of the ordinance.

“Every spring you smell urine and (fecal) waste,” said G. M. “Jeff” Graves, who said he drives through a mobile home park every day.

He said he could tell the Kenai City Council story after story about poor conditions in the Highland trailer park.

“They just built two lean-tos this year in Highland, and there are two kids sleeping in there right now,” Graves said.

He said the Kenai City Council needed to pass the proposed ordinance for the protection of the people living in the trailer park.

Although the ordinance, as proposed, does not target health issues, specific standards are set down on outbuildings and lean-tos.

A mobile home would be limited to having one lean-to; the lean-to could not depend on the mobile home for structural support; and the lean-to floor area could not exceed that of the mobile home.

The ordinance does not address occupancy of a lean-to.

A Kenai homeowner who identified himself as Kurt Rogers said a trailer court near his home is lowering the value of his property.

“This trailer court is a mess. There are animals running everywhere. There are kids playing in mud holes,” Rogers said.

“If you lived near there, you’d want this ordinance,” he said.

Greg Nichol told the council he has seen trash piled on top of cars in one trailer court and he believes as many as 30 mobile homes are leaching into a half-acre leach field.

Donna Lohrke, who lives behind the Highland Pride Mobile Home Park, said, “Every spring I clean up trash they throw on my property.

“I know it’s them. I’ve seen ‘em doing it. They don’t care,” she said.

“I’ve noticed its deterioration over the past five years,” said Don Zacharias, about the Highland park.

“Owners of trailer parks need to be held accountable,” he said.

The only comments not coming from Kenai homeowners came from the owners of two of the city’s mobile home parks.

City Clerk Carol Freas read a letter from Anchor Trailer Court owner Dorothy Wilhelm into the record.

“If you require new residents to pay additional fees for inspection of gas and electric hookups, over and above normal moving and hook up costs and building permits and other fees, it will be beyond their financial ability,” said Wilhelm in her letter.

Roy Wright, who said he owns a small mobile home park on the way into Wildwood Correctional Facility, said he only received notification of the proposed ordinance two days before the council meeting on Wednesday, and asked for additional time to analyze the law’s financial impact on his small business.

“I’d like to ask for a little time on this,” Wright said, telling the council he just returned from vacation.

In response to comments made about trailer park residents keeping large dogs, Wright said he has tried to get residents in his trailer park to have smaller dogs.

Speaking telephonically from Seattle, council member Mike Boyle said he would like to see the city administration get together with mobile home park owners to explain some of the requirements of the proposed ordinance.

Council member Linda Swarner said she would like to see Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation regulations addressed in the municipal ordinance.

“I don’t think this addresses the concerns of the people here tonight,” said council member Joe Moore, who then moved to postpone action on the ordinance until the council’s next meeting.

All voting members of the council, except Mayor Pat Porter, voted in favor of the postponement.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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