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Mobile home park could be shut down

List of violations must be addressed by Thursday

ROCK FALLS – Nineteen families could soon be without a place to park their mobile homes, unless a list of code violations is addressed.

Terry Helt, 66, owner of Valley Properties Inc., 1507 W. Route 30, received a letter dated May 1 saying that his application for a business license will not be granted, unless the violations are addressed by Thursday. There are 22 mobile homes at the park, but three are vacant.

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Helt bought the mobile home park, then known as Easy Living Trailer Park, in 2000. He says he has put a lot of work and money into it since he bought it.

“Back then, the city was so happy I was buying this,” Helt said. “There were a lot of problems – I had to redo the sewer and water lines. When I came in, I evicted everyone and put in all different trailers.”

Helt says that most of the families own their trailers, but a few rent from him. The owners pay him lot fees, but are responsible for making trailer repairs.

“They gave me a month to get all this done,” Helt said. “The tenants were told to make repairs, and they didn’t do it.”

Related: Mobile home park residents upset with city warning

Mark Searing, city building inspector, says that the most recent list of violations was given to Helt long before last month, and that regardless of who owns the trailers, Helt is ultimately responsible for making sure code violations are corrected.

“We’ve given him almost 2 years to address this list of violations,” Searing said. “The letter dated May 1 tells him his license has expired.”

The most pressing public safety issues are various electrical problems, and several sheds that are International Fire Code violations because of their proximity to the mobile homes. The state health department must be notified of fire code violations.

Helt said he was confused by the problem with the 6-by-6 sheds he had put up for residents.

“I’m fully licensed with the state, and in compliance with their codes,” Helt said. “In Illinois code, a shed isn’t considered a building.”

Other violations on the list include cracked and broken windows, missing siding and fascia, no screens on windows and doors, no railings at stairs and landings, inoperable doors, loose and missing skirting, and several instances of garbage in yards.

If the violations are corrected, the relicensing process is simple, Searing says.

“If the corrections are made, I just have to give approval to the city clerk’s office to reissue a license,” Searing said.

Prior to issuing these violations, others had been issued to Valley Properties, and Searing said most of those had been corrected.

For the annual mobile home inspections, Searing said his guide is the International Property Maintenance Code.

The status of Valley Properties will be discussed the day before the deadline, during a Building Code Committee meeting at 5:15 p.m. today.

Any final licensing decision would come from the Ordinance and Personnel Committee.

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