Mobile home park expansion meets opposition from neighbors
By ANDREA VARGO
Neighbors of the Howard Lake Mobile Home Park spoke against the seven new mobile homes scheduled to be placed on the north end of the park during the Howard Lake City Council meeting Tuesday.
These units are in addition to the 45 homes scheduled to be placed on the south end of the park in the near future.
They are also the ones creating the controversy with the neighbors.
John Scheveck, who lives on the north side of the park, said, "I can't imagine the city wanting to expand a trailer court more into the center of the city.
"If you put seven more trailers right next to our property, our property values will go down," he said.
The traffic on 11th Street is horrendous, he said.
"Even if the owners put in another entrance, I feel that entrance (11th Street) will be used most because it is closer to downtown," said Scheveck.
Randy Lehtola echoed Scheveck's words, and added, "There is only one way in and out, and if you try and pack that many homes in such a small area, it is going to be a problem."
City Administrator Christina Frankenfield and Mayor Mark Custer told the neighbors that the area is zoned for mobile homes, and that the expansion will take place.
The zoning laws must be followed, and Custer reminded the mobile home park owners, Paul Phillips and Dennis Peterson, that six percent of the park must be reserved for playground/open space for the use of the residents.
Phillips said there are adjacent wetlands, but Custer said the park area must be usable by the residents.
Police Chief Mike Simmons said he would prefer to see a storm shelter built and a second entrance established from a public safety standpoint, before any more expansion is allowed.
Addressing the traffic issue brought up by Scheveck and Simmons, Phillips said, "We appreciate your concerns. There won't be any additional traffic, except for seven cars."
Phillips said he is trying to purchase the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) bus garage property for the second entrance that is required by the city.
Custer said he has looked at parks in other cities and noticed many have one way traffic flow.
When a second entrance is built, maybe that idea could be considered, he said.
In a letter to Frankenfield, HLWW Superintendent Riley Hoheisel stated the school district will notify the city and mobile park owners if the property is ever placed on the market.
Said Councilman Al LePage, "I don't see that happening for three to five years, and doesn't the park have to have an entrance by 2000?"
Phillips said there are other alternatives, but didn't mention any.
Scheveck said the only problem he has, other than the extra traffic, is the number of children from those seven homes that would be cutting across his property.
A fence that would run along the north side of the park, leaving the tree line in place, was suggested by Custer.
Phillips agreed that could be a solution and also thought speed bumps might help the safety issues brought up by residents of the park.
But he would like to put the seven mobile homes in immediately, while he is upgrading the sanitary sewer and water utilities.
"(Putting up these seven mobile homes) all ties together with the expansion of the other end of the park.
"It would be cheaper to do all the utility work at the same time," he said.
Custer and Frankenfield will meet with Phillips to work out a second agreement to address the concerns raised by the residents and city council.
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