Mobile home park ordinance comes too late for Columbia Regency tenants

Monday, November 7, 2011 | 9:52 p.m. CST; updated 5:32 p.m. CST, Tuesday, November 8, 2011

*An earlier version of this story included an incorrect spelling for the name of Columbia resident Ed Berg.

COLUMBIA — Mobile home park residents will have at least 180 days notice before they have to move their home after an ordinance passed unanimously during Monday night's City Council meeting.

The ordinance is the first tangible change in city policy after the Columbia Regency mobile home park rezoning controversy. It comes a little more than a week after residents there and at El Ray mobile home park were told they had four months to leave.

An ordinance passed by the council on Monday night requires mobile home park landlords to give tenants six months notice before they have to move their trailers. The previous minimum was four months.

To make moving more affordable, tenants do not have to pay rent the last three months the park is open. Under the ordinance, tenants and trailer owners both have to be formally notified when a park plans to close. Previously, notice was only given to owners.

When news broke of Columbia Regency potentially closing, residents expressed worry about the short notice. The closure of the park remained a constant presence during the discussion of the ordinance, even though it would not apply to Columbia Regency.

*Columbia resident Ed Berg spoke during the public comment and urged the council to ask Columbia Regency and Aspen Heights to comply with the changes to the code voluntarily.

Originally, the ordinance only changed the notice time to 180 days. Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe proposed this on Oct. 3 and requested the other changes to it during Monday's meeting.

The only change she requested that met opposition gave tenants three months of forgiven rent before a park closes. Hoppe said this was done in the past with Ed's and Sunset mobile home parks. Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl and Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley opposed the amendment.

The ordinance went into effect immediately but only affects future closures.

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David Sautner November 8, 2011 | 12:56 p.m.

Good for them! It would be better if they didn't have to move at all but at least they get more time and don't have to pay rent for the last three months.

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