Scott City Council approves easing mobile home restriction in divided vote

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The split vote was rare for the council, which usually passes ordinances with little dissension.

In a 5-3 vote the Scott City Council approved an ordinance Monday that will allow owners of mobile homes manufactured before 1984 to replace their buildings with newer mobile homes. Prior to the vote only mobile homes 10 years old or newer could be brought in to replace mobile homes currently installed inside the city limits. But under provisions enacted Monday night, those who currently own mobile homes inside the city limits constructed before 1984 can replace those homes with newer homes.

The provisions apply only to mobile homes constructed before 1984, and only to lots where those mobile homes currently sit. After two years, the city ordinance will revert to the 10-year rule for all mobile homes.

The divided vote was rare for the Scott City Council, which usually passes ordinances with little discussion or dissension in votes. Ward 3 council members Robert Tyler and Kirk Lewis and Ward 4 Councilman Rob Henderson voted against the new ordinance.

Only two members of the public attended the meeting, and only one of them -- Jim Edmondson -- discussed the matter with the council. Edmondson was in favor of the ordinance and simply talked to the council for clarification of the provisions of the ordinance.

Lewis took the strongest stand against the ordinance, saying the city should not be "making exceptions" to its established planning and zoning rules.

"It's not right," Lewis said. "We're trying to make the place look better, the whole town, and now we're making exceptions again."

Both Lewis and Henderson suggested allowing homes manufactured after 1992 might be a better course of action, but an amendment was not made to the ordinance before it was voted on.

"I think it's a good idea, but I think '84's going back a bit too far," Henderson said.

Ward 2 Councilman Jim McCarty liked the 15-year proposal, but voted yes on the ordinance regardless.

Supporters of the ordinance said relaxing the restrictions will allow residents who can't afford mobile homes manufactured since 1997 to replace their aging structures with newer, safer homes.

Mayor Tim Porch said the new policy could save lives by putting low-income residents in safer structures that meet modern building codes for electrical wiring.

"That's the only reason I'm supporting this," Porch said. Ward 2 Councilman John Crail agreed.

Porch said any mobile homes entering the city will be subject to rigorous inspection to make sure they meet Scott City's occupancy standards.

In other action:

* The council approved 8-0 an ordinance establishing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day as a city holiday.

* Scott County presiding commissioner Jamie Burger made a presentation to the city council asking for support in his campaign to extend the county's half-cent sales tax on law enforcement. Porch expressed support for the extension.

* The council granted approval for city administrator Ron Eskew to review the city's bids for health insurance and choose the best plan. Eskew said the city will save in insurance premiums on any of the four plans submitted by the city's insurance carrier, Anthem. Eskew also told the council the city's workers' compensation insurance for the year will cost half what it did in 2004. The cost this year is $29,027.

* The council approved 8-0 the reappointment of Steve Southard as the city's municipal judge in cases of disqualification.

335-6611, extension 182

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