October 25, 2014

Medina
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Mobile home parks still zoned out

LODI — The owner of a mobile home park in Lodi is wondering what to do following a failed rezoning bid.

Mayor Dan Goodrow said Village Council’s Zoning Committee rejected two changes that would have aligned Meadowview Village and Sunset Estate mobile home parks to the village’s zoning code.

Earlier this year, the owners of Meadowview Village and Sunset Estate found several trailers and lots were without utilities, a service provided by the village.

A clause in the zoning code says utilities shut off in a “nonconforming” zone cannot be re-established after six months of abandonment, and utilities to abandoned lots in mobile home parks must be shut off immediately, Goodrow said.

Meadowview Village and Sunset Estate were built in the 1940s before the village had a zoning code. Years later, the area was zoned R2, a single-family residential district, and not MH, a manufactured homes park zone, rendering the parks “nonconforming.”

Brady McCann, the owner of Sunset Estate, said the zoning is taking away his opportunity to make money at the park and depriving some residents of utilities.

“The ordinance went into effect in 1987, but it hasn’t been enforced until now,” McCann said.

Goodrow said the 1987 legislation didn’t remove or improve the mobile home parks, and it was difficult to enforce consistently, he said.

One proposal the Zoning Committee struck down would have removed the “abandonment” clause in the ordinance.

“What we were trying to do in eliminating the abandonment clause was give (the parks) mobile home park status so they could improve the parks by any means necessary,” he said.

Earlier in the year, Clerk/Treasurer Annette Geissman said the village had to write off $16,000 in unpaid utility bills that went back to 1991, most of them from the mobile home parks.

The second proposed ordinance would have rezoned the area into mixed housing and commercial zones, Goodrow said. The change, like striking the “abandonment” clause, would have made owners more accountable for the quality of the mobile home parks by forcing them to align to the Ohio Revised Code, Medina County Health Department and the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association.

However, he said that, like a dilapidated house, if a mobile home is uninhabitable it will not be hooked up to utilities.

“Historically, these are problem areas, and we don’t want to perpetuate that,” Goodrow said.

He said it is not unusual for zoning changes to die in committee and perhaps the next proposed zoning change needs to be more “concise” to make it to the floor of Council.

McCann said one of his tenants is still without utilities.

“We’d like to work with the village, but it looks like the village doesn’t want to work with us,” McCann said. “I’m between a rock and a hard place with what to do, whether to go into litigation or wait for mayor and Council to rewrite zoning.”

Goodrow said there needs to be a “meeting of the minds” to decide what to do with the parks. He said park owners and village officials have met with private developers to “possibly sell or reconfigure the trailer parks so that they can become something else.”

He acknowledged, however, it was tough to obtain financing in the poor economy.

Goodrow said he expects the issue to be resolved by spring.

“I’m looking forward to the fact that by springtime we’ll have movement on it to the point that it will either be a compliant trailer park or there will be another use of the property, like a different type of housing, or it will be gone,” Goodrow said.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@ohio.net.