City Council passes new mobile home ordinance

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— With mobile homes often sitting on rented land worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, the owners of many of the 467 trailers in Steamboat Springs are living on shaky ground.

With that in mind, the Steamboat Springs City Council decided Tuesday to try to slow down the process of displacement of trailer owners in the city, though they admitted the new rules will likely just postpone the inevitable.

The ordinance passed Tuesday makes mobile home park owners present a conversion impact report to the city if they intend to change the use of the land. The owners would also need to get a conditional use permit to alter the use, meaning they would have to obtain permission from the city and comply with certain requirements.

They decided instead to ask mobile home park owners to make their "best efforts" when they do decide to close down a park and redevelop.

Best efforts would include making a list of the names of mobile home owners being displaced by a change of use and compiling a list of available sites on which to place mobile homes within a 50-mile radius. It would also impel park owners to present the city with their plans for redevelopment. The conversion report could be waived if 75 percent of the trailer owners agree to drop it.

While no owners of trailers spoke at Tuesday's City Council meeting, many of them have followed the issue closely, urging council to help make their lives more secure. The ordinance, as some trailer owners see it, does nothing substantial to help the low and middle income families of Steamboat Springs.

"It's not like anything was really done. They just put an extra step in," said Dan Clarke, the owner of a trailer in Dream Island Trailer Park.

Clarke said the only way residents without a lot of money can afford to own property here is to get into a mobile home. If those parks disappear to make room for other development, new residents may have nowhere to go, he said.

Trailer park owners, on the other hand, have asked council not to restrict how they can use their property. They say the ordinance as passed makes them go to great lengths to solve a problem that is really the whole community's issue. Melinda Sherman, an attorney representing the owners of Westland Mobile Home Park on Yampa Street, said the ordinance also may conflict with the state's Mobile Home Park Act. That act outlines how park owners must go about eviction procedures, among other issues.

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