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Mobile home park licensing issue moved to committee

Published: Thursday, May 8, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

ROCK FALLS – Licensing for the owner of a local mobile home park in danger of being shut down will be discussed at the May 22 meeting of the city’s Ordinance and Licensing Committee.

Several residents of Valley Properties Inc., 1507 W. Route 30, attended Wednesday’s city Building Code Committee to express their views on the situation.

Terry Helt, the owner of the mobile home community, also known as Easy Living Trailer Park, received a letter from the city dated May 1, telling him that his business license will not be issued unless a long list of city code violations are corrected. The letter goes on to say that if Helt does not comply within 7 days of the notice, operations at the park must cease.

The May 1 letter was sent to the residents, and a few said this was the first they had heard of the violations that needed to be addressed.

“How are we supposed to get all this stuff fixed in 7 days?” one resident asked the committee.

The list of violations was sent to the owner, and it is their responsibility to make sure the violations are addressed in a timely fashion, Mark Searing, city building inspector, said.

Helt had said he told those who owned their trailers what needed to be done, but they didn’t do it.

Mayor Bill Wescott said that, while the most recent letter from the city might seem intrusive, it was the only way to get Helt’s attention. The mayor said Helt has been well aware of the problems for a long time, and the city has been more than patient.

“Most of these violations go back 2 years,” Wescott said. “We have honored several promises to comply and he still hasn’t – 2 years is long enough. He says people are there working on the problems, and no one is there. We reinspect and see the same things over and over.”

One resident called many of the violations “piddely stuff”.

“You’re telling me I have to have screens in my windows,” resident Michael Swanson said. “I have central air, and my windows are never open.”

Another resident said screens for his trailer must be specially made and cost $30 each.

“I can’t ignore it when I go in and see a baby covered in flies,” Searing said. “We’ll see if we can work with you on the screens, but we need to take care of life safety issues.”

Electrical system violations were the biggest problem on the list, Searing said. Among those are meters that must be replaced, because they pose a safety problem for city workers who must get into too small of a space to work with them.

Another pressing issue was several sheds that are International Fire Code violations because of their proximity to the mobile homes. 

Helt asked if he could reduce the size of the sheds to bring them into compliance, and he was told he could.

“So if I get everything in order before the next meeting, I get my license?” Helt asked Searing.

“Yes, what we want is compliance,” Searing said. “We’re not looking to remove people from their homes.”

Next meeting

The Valley Properties Inc. licensing issue will be discussed at the Ordinance and Licensing Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. May 22, at City Hall, 603 W. 10th St. 

The agendas will be posted at www.rockfalls61071.com and at City Hall. Call 815-622-1100 for more information.

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