Oak Creek Several residents turned out Thursday night to address how the Oak Creek Town Board handled the recent move of a mobile home.
At the board's June 22 meeting, the board members handed several penalties to Tony Morgan and his wife, Wendy Fletcher, for illegally moving their mobile home. Several residents complained Morgan and Fletcher had moved a new mobile home into the space where their dilapidated mobile home stood without proper permits or town notification.
Once the town found out about the violation, Morgan was contacted and asked to come before the Town Board. The Town Board opted to fine Morgan $50; require him to obtain all town and county building permits to complete the project; skirt the bottom half of the new mobile home; remove the mobile home's axel and tongue after five years; and notify his neighbors and surrounding property owners about the move.
As part of the process, the town scheduled a public hearing. At the hearing Thursday night, half a dozen of Morgan's neighbors spoke in his defense.
Two or three residents were concerned that the town decided to fine and punish Morgan without hearing town input first.
Longtime Oak Creek resident Chuck Klumker criticized the Town Board for its handling of the matter.
"There were a number of errors made in judgment here," he said.
Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman agreed that the town held the public hearing out of order, but she said the town could only work with what it was given.
"The hearing was an afterthought if you want to know the truth," she said. "We shouldn't have made the decision before hearing the public comment, but they shouldn't have moved in that trailer without the permits. Everything about this was backward."
After nearly an hour of debate, the Town Board agreed to have Morgan sign an agreement that he would not sell his property within the next five years to ensure Morgan would comply with the town's orders.
In other action, the Town Board:
Heard from Routt County Economic Development Council representative Karen Tussey. The Town Board agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding allowing Tussey to continue representing the town unless it costs the town any fee, which board members agreed the town could not afford.
Tabled approving the June 22 Oak Creek Town Board meeting minutes because there was a discrepancy in the wording of a decision the board made regarding an Oak Creek resident's violation of a land-use code.
Approved Dinty Moore's liquor license renewal.
Heard an update on the town's two nonmotorized trail projects. Some residents were concerned about the town's liability, and made recommendations to have an engineer inspect the boardwalk and assess the need for signs near crosswalks and Soroco High School.
Ruled that two Oak Creek residents -- who other residents questioned were operating businesses from their homes -- do not qualify as a cottage industries. The Town Board did agree that the residents should keep their properties tidy and comply with the town's codes.
Agreed to allow residents to have inoperable vehicles for the purpose of restoration on their property as long as the vehicles are shielded from view.
Approved doubling the town's tap fees with an exception that would allow the town to handle tap fee rates on a case-by-case basis for deed-restricted, affordable housing.
Approved an ordinance that will allow residents to smoke within 15 feet of businesses.
Approved a resolution allowing the Town Board members and the mayor to forgo the monthly wages they are paid for serving on the Town Board for the remainder of their terms.
Agreed to allow three residents whose electric bills have risen dramatically to pay the average amount the residents paid on their bills from 2004 to 2006.
Heard an update from Town Clerk Karen Halterman regarding several absentee homeowners whose overgrown lawns and weeds were violating the town's codes. Halterman told the board she hired someone to mow the lawns at $25 per hour and then billed the homeowners with a warning that if they didn't pay the bills that a lien would be put against their property.
Discussed how to handle illegal immigrants without proper identification applying for electric meters. The town agreed to question other electric companies to compare how they handle issuing meters to illegal immigrants before making any official decision.