06/15/04 — Grace period declared over for mobile home park compliance

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Grace period declared over for mobile home park compliance

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on June 15, 2004 1:59 PM

Wayne County plans to prohibit mobile home parks that don't meet minimum standards from adding or replacing homes.

Beginning July 1, parks will need to be in compliance with the county codes before the Planning Department will issue new permits for homes. The change will affect more than 80 parks outside cities and towns.

The department began annual inspections of the parks in 2002 and has been working with park owners since then to get all parks up to code. Until now, the county has not punished anyone for non-compliance.

But "the grace period is over," Code Enforcement Officer Julian Nelms said Monday.

The park ordinance includes several items that are meant to protect occupants' safety, particularly in an emergency. Mobile home parks are required to have signs with the name of the park, passable roads, street signs, lot number markers and street lights.

A park can also fail inspection if it doesn't provide fire hydrants in areas where water service is available.

Other requirements are parking for all lots, landscaping, open areas and solid waste disposal. The park owner must maintain a register of occupants. The park cannot have damaged homes, junked cars, or weedy or overgrown lots.

Developers had to agree to the ordinance when their parks were approved, but enforcement was lax for several years.

The county began the inspection program in 2002 after officials heard concerns from fire chiefs and ambulance personnel that they were having trouble locating addresses in the parks. Between 8,000 to 9,000 people live in 202 parks in the county.

Only 28 parks were found to be completely in compliance last year.

After inspections this winter and spring, 116 parks were in compliance. Fifty-one parks passed on the first inspection, while the others made repairs or changes before they were re-inspected.

The county also has the ability to fine park owners $50 a day for non-compliance.