By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Midwest City leaders have denied an appeal from a mobile home park over violations issued for damaged manufactured homes.
The Riverside Mobile Home Park, located near Air Depot Blvd. and NE 23rd St., received citations in August for seven homes that were determined to be wrecked, damaged, or dilapidated, and performing work without permits on three other homes.
Justin Morales, owner of the Riverside Mobile Home Park, said many of the repairs have been made but the city won’t reinspect the properties and issue necessary permits.
“I’m here to tell you these are beautiful homes that we’re trying to sell to the community and help fix the low inventory of affordable homes,” he said during a city council meeting last week.
City attorney Don Maisch said that is because Riverside is not following city requirements. Midwest City ordinances prohibit anyone from bringing damaged mobile homes into city limits. Any repairs would need to be done outside city limits and according to federal guidelines.
“What we asked them to do when we first discovered them was to remove the mobile homes from the corporate city limits of Midwest City,” Maisch said. “And if they wanted to make repairs and bring information showing that they met federal requirements we’d have them brought back in.”
Manufactured homes are regulated according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Maisch said Midwest City’s ordinance applies to all mobile home parks within city limits and is similar to those in Oklahoma City and Del City.
Maisch said they also had the option to deaanex the property from city limits which would eliminate the issues. Morales explored that option but determined it would be cost prohibitive due to requirements by the county.
Morales said he purchased Riverside four years ago and has since added about 40 manufactured homes. He said he never had any issues until he added 10 used homes last year. The homes were bought from a company called Hitched Wholesale, LLC.
Morales said he has repaired the homes and would like to sell them to residents. He said they have spent more than $500,000 on the homes and is paying about $8,000 – $9,000 per month in interest for the homes.
In May, the manager of the mobile home park requested permits for several manufactured homes to be delivered to the mobile home park to be refurbished. The homes were in various states of disrepair.
On July 24, city officials inspected the 10 homes and determined that seven of the homes were in a damaged, wrecked, or dilapidated state. They included 6717 Klipspringer; 6716 Zebra; 6652 Zebra; 6636 Zebra; 6716 Oryx; 6724 Oryx; and 6721 Oryx.
The city issued a notice of violation concerning the issues on Aug. 15 and required removal of the manufactured homes. Riverside requested a hearing before the city council, but settlement negotiations were ongoing at the time.
After the negotiations were deemed unsuccessful, a hearing was later scheduled for Jan. 9.
Duana Newcomb, community manager of Riverside, and a resident highlighted charitable actions taken by the mobile home community including Christmas gifts for children and activities for senior citizens and food and clothing for those in need.
Mayor Matt Dukes said the city has a responsibility to ensure the homes are safe.
Councilman Sean Reed asked what would happen if building inspectors reviewed the trailers and determined that the necessary repairs have been made. Maisch said that wouldn’t change the fact that Riverside violated city ordinances.
Ward 5 councilwoman Sara Bana, who represents the Riverside area, asked the city council to grant an exception for the issue.
“I make that motion with a peaceful resolution for the residents of the community and the potential seven future tenants,” Bana said.
Reed argued that months of negotiations were not successful.
Bana’s motion did not receive a second. Reed then made a motion to deny the appeal, which passed by a 5-1 vote. Bana cast the lone no vote.