For the first time since becoming Kenai’s first woman mayor two years ago, Pat Porter was forced to ask the police chief to escort someone out of the city council meeting Tuesday night.
The issue: mobile home court standards.
During a public hearing on a proposed ordinance setting down standards for mobile homes in trailer courts, Sandra Lashbrook, of Wasilla, who identified herself as the owner of Highland Pride Mobile Home Park, loudly questioned Porter’s integrity and accused the city of rushing the law through to placate a Kenai man who made an unsuccessful bid to buy the Highland trailer park.
Lashbrook questioned why she was being allowed to speak for only three minutes after having flown “all the way down from Wasilla.”
She asked Porter why the mayor said earlier she had only spoken with Kurt Rogers who she said tried to buy the trailer park once, when Lashbrook said she had proof of more than one contact.
“This entire ordinance was rushed from the beginning,” Lashbrook said, raising her voice.
In attempting to restore order to the public hearing, Porter instructed Police Chief Chuck Kopp to escort Lashbrook “out of the area,” and called for a break just 36 minutes into the council meeting.
Lashbrook never addressed standards contained in the proposed ordinance.
The new ordinance, which was first introduced Oct. 17, mandates that “no wrecked or dilapidated mobile home” be placed in a mobile home park, any mobile homes coming into a park must be inspected and mobile homes must have adequate sanitary facilities and heating equipment as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
A $100 building permit fee would be charged to cover the cost of building inspections.
Other standards in the proposed ordinance specify mobile home foundation requirements if used, blocking beneath mobile homes and skirting around them. Specifications for arctic entries, lean-tos and outbuildings are also contained in the code.
The new law also establishes lot size in new mobile home parks and sets down minimum spacing required between mobile homes.
Existing mobile home parks would be grandfathered in and not subject to requirements of the new law.
Testifying in favor of the new ordinance, Jeff Graves, of Kenai, said, “Right now, if I decide to build a garage, the restrictions are more strict than they are for mobile homes.”
Dorothy Wilhelm, of Anchorage, who identified herself as one of the owners of the Anchor Trailer Court, told the council a trailer court is one of the least expensive places for people to live, and many of the residents would not be able to afford the fees set down in the ordinance.
“It’s going to be much harder for people moving in there,” Wilhelm said.
Questioning several provisions of the ordinance, Terry Meyer said, “It’s convenient you adopted things from other cities’ (ordinances) that bring money into the city, but not things that make the city of Kenai put in money.
“For instance, Anchorage has an ordinance that says no roads can be built into or through a mobile home park,” he said, adding that roads must be built to go around the parks there.
The city also received written testimony from Roy Wright, owner of a small mobile home park near Wildwood Correctional Facility, which was read into the official record.
“It has taken me two years to rebuild some trailers,” Wright said in his letter, which contained specific suggestions for mobile home foundations, blocking and skirting, as well as for entrance steps into mobile homes, attached additions and outbuildings.
City Manager Rick Koch thanked Wright for his input and for taking the time to write the letter.
“We’ve taken his ideas into consideration in the ordinance,” Koch said.
After closing the public hearing almost an hour into the council meeting, council members debated the building inspection fee amount and decided to allow mobile home park residents to pay off the fee in 10 monthly installments if they could not afford the $100 all at once while paying other move-in utility fees.
The revised mobile home standards ordinance was then passed unanimously. It becomes effective Dec. 21.
After the council meeting, Porter said she had never needed to have someone escorted out of a council meeting. A marked Kenai Police car followed the mayor’s vehicle home.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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