Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Nov. 22, 1999

Mobile home park owners seek reduction in storm shelter size

By Andrea Vargo

Howard Lake Mobile Home Court owners Dennis Peterson and Paul Phillips tried to convince the Howard Lake Council to lower its requirements for a park storm shelter Wednesday.

The council held fast to the state statute of 10 square feet per home for the concrete building's size.

Peterson told the council that the shelter would never be more than 60 percent full, so there was no need for such a large building.

He said the city has the ability to require a smaller shelter, according to his conversations with the Minnesota Department of Health.

City Administrator Doug Borglund told the council to "get that in writing from the Department of Health."

Councilman Shelly Reddemann said, "I don't think we should be talking dollars, when we are talking about people's lives."

With the safety of residents a concern, Mayor Gerry Smith said he would rather be on the safe side than on the short side.

Statements from park residents led the council to believe the estimate of 2.5 residents per home is very low.

Councilman John Swanson pulled out his calculator and figured that even with only four persons per trailer, a 60 percent number might find some of the residents without a place for shelter during a storm.

"You aren't going to have 275 people there (in the shelter)," said Peterson.

"I can't say that, and neither can you," said Councilman Tom Kutz.

"Yes, I can," said Peterson.

"How long have you known what size building you need?" asked Councilman Don Danford.

"A year and a half," said Peterson.

"Why are you waiting until now?" asked Danford.

"I don't know," said Peterson.

The council refused to budge on the safety issue of the size of the storm shelter, and the park owners will have to adhere to the state statute.

Then, one of the residents asked about trailer owners who were promised they could move in Monday (today).

Phillips told her some people were moving in Monday (today).

Since the utility work is complete, and City Engineer Brad DeWolf will sign off on the remainder of the $300,000 letter of credit, Phillips seemed to feel moving in more people is something he can do.

Smith said, "You do what you have to do, and we will do what we have to."

The council recessed the meeting for 15 minutes to conduct a closed meeting regarding the placement of those new trailers and possible litigation with the park owners.


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