Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Nov. 8, 1999

Mobile home park owners offered time extension for second access

By Andrea Vargo

A one-year time extension will be offered to the owners of the mobile home park, Dennis Peterson and Paul Phillips, the Howard lake council decided last Monday.

In an effort to accommodate people who have purchased trailers with the promise of park occupancy from the owners, the council will offer a new contract that attempts some compromise on the part of the council.

Several options were explored in the past few weeks for ways to help the park owners get their project completed, one of which was the possibility of using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to assist in building a second access road and/or a perimeter security fence for the park.

Michelle Hartman, Municipal Economic Development Network, Inc. one of the people who counsels the city on TIF, was contacted to explore that possibility.

Hartman responded with a report that negated the option to make that new construction in the mobile home park a TIF district.

It is too late, she told the council. The permit was issued for that construction more than 18 months prior to any possible establishment of a district.

"However, since the mobile home park services low and moderate income persons, it may be eligible to receive assistance from one of the city's existing housing tax increment financing districts," Hartman stated.

She explained that a cash flow analysis of TIF District 3, the Keleher/Schmid district, should be made to find out if extra funds are available.

If there are funds, the council would need facts and documentation that show the mobile home park needs the TIF assistance, and it is in the best interest of the city to provide it.

Following this would be public hearings and plan modifications to the TIF-3 plan and possibly to the Housing and Redevelopment Association project area and plan.

The owners of the park would have to sign a development agreement to make sure they comply with the TIF income level requirements for his park tenants.

One of the options for the second access road to the mobile home park is the possibility of expanding 13th Avenue.

In order to use tax increment funds for this street, it must be entirely inside the city limits, she said.

Half of the easement for 13th Avenue is currently outside the city and would probably require annexation, according to Hartman.

Another problem with 13th Avenue is the terrain, which would require a retaining wall because of a steep hillside on the west side of the road.

A second option for the access road is to purchase land for the access road from the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District, where the bus garage is located, has yet to be explored.

Another part of the existing contract with the owners of the park calls for the storm shelter to be complete by Jan. 1, 2000.

Nothing has been started, and the council wanted to hold firm on that requirement.

City Attorney Charles Paschke said the city should amend its agreement with the mobile home park owners to allow 10 homes into the park in the next year, have a completed storm shelter by the first of the year, and grant a one-year extension for the second access.

He said this would be a compromise, but the contract would be worded in such a way that the courts could be used to see that the owners live up to their end of the deal.

The city will retain the right to build a road into the park, and 100 percent of that cost will be borne by the park owners.

Residents who live next to the park expressed concerns that the owners don't live up to any of their promises, and another contract that gives them leeway on placing homes is like opening the floodgates. There would be no way to stop them from placing more trailers, they said.

In spite of the fears expressed by the residents, the council decided to present the new contract to Peterson and Phillips

City Administrator Doug Borglund told the council that the $300,000 letter of credit held by the bank was supposed to cover any of the things the owners did not do. The council decided to try the new contract first.

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