Loda moves forward with changes to mobile-home ordinance

LODA — The village board is moving forward with plans to tighten up its ordinance applying to mobile homes.

With Village Attorney George Cuonzo present, the board reviewed a draft of a proposed amendment to the town’s 20-year-old mobile home ordinance during a special meeting Monday night. The board made plans to pass the ordinance changes at its Dec. 12 meeting.

Board President Carol Arseneau said the existing ordinance is “pretty vague,” noting it is only five paragraphs in length, and she recommended the changes be made to help “tighten it up a little bit.”

Among the changes proposed:

— No new trailers will be allowed to move into the village unless a building permit application is issued first. The charge for a building permit for a mobile home will be $50.

— All mobile homes must be in compliance with the Illinois Mobile Home Tiedown Act, as well as all other state and federal laws, rules and regulations.

Also, single or double-wide manufactured or prefabricated house or house trailers may be used to replace existing house trailers only if:

— The mobile homes coming into the village are fewer than seven years old at the date of installation.

— The mobile homes are  800 square feet or larger in size and are located on four full concrete runners and have tie-downs. The tongue wheel and axles also must be removed.

Arseneau also requested that the village add to the ordinance a fine that would be assessed to the owner of a mobile-home park if the owner does not have an up-do-to-date state license to operate a trailer park. Cuonzo agreed to add the change, as well.

Arseneau said she wants the fine added because Sandy Coffey, who owns Loda’s only trailer park, does not have her license up to date.

Coffey, a candidate for board president in the April 2013 election, confirmed she did not have her license renewed as of yet. Coffey said she sent a check and a required form prior to it expiring on April 30, 2012, but when she called a state inspector recently, the inspector said the state had no record of having received it. She said she sent another check and resubmitted her application recently.

Meanwhile, the ordinance amendment does not change the locations where mobile homes are permitted in Loda. Under the current ordinance, trailers are only authorized in a mobile home park.

There are a couple of trailers in town that are not in a mobile home park, but those were apparently “grandfathered in” years ago, Cuonzo said.

Arseneau said the tie-down restrictions referenced in the ordinance amendment should help the village ensure the safety of residents living in them. She said she was concerned that the enforcement of state regulations would not be sufficient, noting there is a “backlog” of inspections for trailer parks at the state level.

The board appointed Trustee Cathy Tittle to be the village’s building code enforcement officer to monitor the trailer park’s compliance with the tie-down regulations, as well as other rules and laws applying to mobile homes.

Coffey’s husband, Richard, said all trailers in their mobile-home park already have tie-downs, as far as he is aware.

At last Wednesday’s regular board meeting, Coffey told the board about a recent inspection of the trailer park by the Illinois Department of Public Health. She told the board what violations were found and that she is remediating them. She said there were several pot holes, a trash can without a tightly fitted lid, several trailers missing skirting and one missing house numbers and a pile of glass and plastic.

The Coffeys’ attorney, Bob Martensen, attended Monday's special meeting. He requested to review the ordinance prior to the next meeting, and Cuonzo agreed to get it to Martensen this week.

Trustee John Zalaker, who plans to run against Coffey for the board president’s seat in next year’s election, proposed amending the ordinance as a way to improve the town’s appearance and reduce various issues that he says have been difficult to address at Coffey’s trailer park.

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