- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - More than 100 families in Mesa could lose their homes, which city officials say are too unfit to live in but too expensive to fix.

The families living at Mesa Royale, a mobile-home park, will have to vacate at the end of October if numerous safety and code violations aren’t addressed.

Mesa building officials say it would be more practical to demolish the entire park rather than fix the various electrical, water and structural problems. Steve Hether, Mesa’s deputy director of development services, said a majority of the units were built in the 1950s and 1960s.

“They’ve pretty much outlived their life expectancy,” Hether said. “Then, you have additions that were put on that are not structurally sound. And we can’t get our fire vehicles in unless they make some extraordinary efforts.”

Angry residents say they can’t afford to find new homes. The city says the mobile homes are too unstable to move.

Mobile park’s legal owner and manager Gene Ham told the Arizona Republic (https://bit.ly/1Me2YXL) he has gone back and forth with the city for more than a year and is out of options. The ordeal began in August 2013 when a neighbor next to the park filed a complaint about construction without a permit, according to city spokesman Steve Wright. That complaint led to inspectors examining the property over the next few months. City records noted more than 120 problems. Hether said management had failed to maintain the park in compliance with city codes.

Last January, Ham requested an extension of two to five years before making tenants leave. Ham said he had addressed the more urgent code violations and was looking for a buyer. His request was denied. Hether said it would be negligent to keep subjecting tenants and owners to conditions that were “unfit for human habitation for a longer time period.” That led to Ham issuing a move-out deadline of October.

Anyone who buys the 4.2-acre trailer park will have to meet the same deadlines and conditions that Ham has faced.

Hether said it’s the owner’s job, not the city’s, to try to fix the park since it’s private property. The most the city can do is connect residents with groups who can help them transition out of the park.


Information from: The Arizona Republic, https://www.azcentral.com

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