AP: Garden City mobile home tenants to be evicted

3/12/2013

GARDEN CITY (AP) — Residents of a recently sold Garden City mobile home park have until Friday to leave the park and likely will have to abandon their homes because a county law prohibits older mobile homes like theirs from being relocated to other trailer parks.

GARDEN CITY (AP) — Residents of a recently sold Garden City mobile home park have until Friday to leave the park and likely will have to abandon their homes because a county law prohibits older mobile homes like theirs from being relocated to other trailer parks.

"They're left in a humdinger. Some of those trailers can't be moved. ... Some don't have tires ... They're going to fall apart," said Sam Hermocillo, a Garden City resident who has been working to help the residents of the seven mobile homes remaining at the trailer park in eastern Garden City.

"They own their trailers," he said. "It might not be much, but to them it's their home. It's their domicile."

Garden City Community College bought the land in December from a local company, Business Management Services Inc., according to Western Kansas News. The site, which is across the street from the college, was rezoned several years ago and has not allowed mobile homes to be added to the site for years.

Bob Kreutzer, who sold the site to the college, said over the years the mobile home park had become "an eyesore" and difficult to manage. He said he has not raised the $115 monthly rent in 15 years and is also owed a total of about $12,000 in back rent from four tenants.

"So we've reached a point in time being retirement age that we cannot continue to subsidize the rent, therefore, we judged that it's easier to sell it," he said Monday.

Kreutzer notified the tenants in early December about the sale and told them they had until March 15 to relocate. He expects the utilities at the site to be turned off Friday.

In Finney County, mobile homes built no later than 1986 can be moved without special permission, said Sam Henderson, city planner for Garden City. Mobile homes built between 1975 and 1985 can be moved inside the county if the owners get a conditional use permit. But models built before 1975 can't be relocated, he said. Henderson said no one from the mobile home park had applied for a conditional use permit.

Hermocillo estimated that the seven remaining homes in the park were all built at least before 1986 and likely earlier.

Harold Orosco, whose daughter lived in the mobile home park with her six children until recently, said two area mobile home parks turned him down when he asked about relocating the home, which he believes was built in 1975.

"They said no way, we're trying to get rid of the ones we have here," Orosco said.

Hermocillo said the tenants should be given $2,500 for each home left at the park, where they presumably will be destroyed.

But Randall Grisell, lawyer for the community college, said the college had no plans to pay the tenants for their homes and had not yet determined what the land would be used for or when it would be developed. He said although the college owns the land now, the previous owner was managing the site until the end of March.

"I don't think the college has a legal obligation to compensate tenants in a trailer park whose use has ended as a trailer park. That's not our legal responsibility," he said. Kreutzer said he also had no plans to pay the tenants for the homes.

Victor Gamez, a resident of the trailer park, said he was told that residents would have to pay a $2,500 fee for having their home demolished if it was left at the site. But Kreutzer and Grisell both said neither the company or the college planned to charge the tenants for demolition.

Gamez, 39, said he doesn't know where he and his family will go.

"I have three kids, and I have my wife, and I don't have a place to live right now," he said." ... Right now to move to an apartment or house, we need like $2,000 easy, with rent, deposits. ...We don't have that kind of money right now."

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