10/05/08 — County to deal with dilapidated mobile homes

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County to deal with dilapidated mobile homes

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 5, 2008 7:51 AM

Wayne County commissioners plan to set aside $50,000 from recycling-generated revenues to launch a program to help rid the county of abandoned and dilapidated mobile homes.

For the next 12 to 24 months it will be a voluntary program, with the demolition of mobile homes potentially beginning after the first of the year.

Then, after the end of the voluntary program, the county will likely consider an ordinance that carries financial penalties for people who have abandoned and/or dilapidated mobile homes on their property, before turning its attention to dilapidated stick-built houses.

The county has established a committee made up of representatives of its planning office, solid waste department and the office of County Manager Lee Smith. The committee will report back to county commissioners and the solid waste committee.

Over the next 60 days the county plans to advertise the program through the news media.

"We are asking for people to call in, and we have received some calls already from people saying 'I do have a dilapidated mobile home on my property' or that there is a 'nuisance mobile home in my neighborhood,'" Smith said.

The county will follow up by sending people out to identify the property.

"We are really trying to get them (mobile homes) in blocks or areas that are close to each other because we get a better price from the contractor to have them removed," he said.

Smith added, "We have got to determine who owns the property, who owns the mobile home, is it indeed a nuisance or is it abandoned. We have got to discover these things and then begin to get prices to get them removed because it is one of the things we hear. I have heard it for seven years and commissioners longer than that. We need to do something about it, and this is our first attempt at it."

People who are interested in the program should contact Simone Cato, county recycling coordinator, at 731-1365. Ms. Cato will take the information from the caller, and the county will conduct the basic title search and property search and verify the information.

Before dipping into county funds, Smith first hopes to find people who have the ability to pay to demolish the mobile homes. The county would partner those people with a contractor. The county in turn would look at reducing or waiving landfill tipping fees for the project.

It will cost about $1,000 to demolish a mobile home on site, and the county hopes to demolish between 45-50 per year, Smith said.

Beyond the voluntary period, commissioners are looking to put an ordinance in place that would carry financial penalties for people who have abandoned and/or dilapidated mobile homes on their property.

"I think that is the direction the board is going, but we want to do this first to see what we can clean up first," Smith said. "We get a lot of complaints about these things on our major corridors and roadways. Just drive around. They look terrible."

Smith said there are "hundreds and hundreds" of dilapidated mobile homes in the county.

"It is becoming more of a problem every single day," he said.