HBmobile0309 (ran 3-9-00)

Mobile home park owner says criticism is off target

by Robb Fulcher

A co-owner of the Marineland mobile home park said a city councilman's statement that rainwater flooding creates a health and safety hazard at the park just isn't so.

"All the claims he made are completely inaccurate," co-owner Susan Moss said of comments last week by Councilman John Bowler. "They are targeting us for completely unknown reasons."

Bowler said that flooding during the President's Day storm left four or five mobile homes standing in two to three feet of murky water, but Moss said the water level was more like six to 13 inches.

City workers pumped out the water from heavy rains on President's Day and again this past Sunday, as they have on several occasions beginning with the 1998 El Nino storms, according to city officials.

On Feb. 29 City Manager Steve Burrell sent a letter to the park's property manager insisting that "adequate drainage facilities" be provided. Moss said plans are under way for the work to be done.

"We're going to solve the problem," she said.

But Moss said she does not expect criticism from council members to stop.

The park's owners have tangled with council members since the mid-90s, when foundations were erected for four larger, two-story mobile homes without the required city permits.

Moss said that a previous management company approved that construction without her knowledge. The city then told the owners to tear down the foundations, which they did. She said the owners also provided official rent rolls and tenant history to the city in response to what she called misinformation about rent rates.

"We are trying to do what we can to keep the peace, but obviously it doesn't work," she said.

Last November the council for a second time declined to approve the larger mobile homes, with some council members demanding improved drainage, road repair work and construction of a children's play area before they would consider the request. The park's owners put it the other way around: Give us permission to build the homes and we will make the improvements.

"They have no intention of letting us do anything. We have approached the city council a number of times in the last four years and we've gotten nowhere," Moss said.

"I guess you can't fight City Hall," she added.ER