City council listens to mobile home residents’ concerns
A group of mobile home park residents spoke Monday night and the Baldwin City Council listened.
There were 10 people from the park just south of Baldwin Junior High School who registered their complaints about an ordinance the city was considering to restrict parking on an alley in the park. The council was considering the restriction because of a problem earlier this year when a fire truck couldn’t get into the park because of cars parked in the alley.
“I don’t see how that’s grounds to screw up everyone’s parking,” said Chad Oswalt, the owner of the park.
Richard Baker, who has been the manager at the park for 20 years, backed up Oswalt, saying that dump trucks and garbage trucks have never had problems navigating the alley.
“I’ve never had a problem,” said Baker. “This kind of ordinance will put a crink on everyone in there.”
Numerous residents of the park also spoke against the measure, stating they have nowhere else to park. Several council members responded to the concerns.
“It’s obvious this is something the neighborhood doesn’t want,” said Council Member Mike Magers. “Maybe we’ve taken this too far. Maybe we should take a different approach.”
Council Member Bonnie Plumberg also understood the residents, adding that the council thought it would help them.
“We thought it was a safety issue for you,” said Plumberg. “We were thinking about safety if there was a fire.”
Mayor Ken Wagner assured the group the council’s intentions were good.
“I don’t think the governing body is considering this to make your life miserable,” said Wagner.
The council also asked Fire Chief Allen Craig if there was good enough access to the park without the restrictions. He said there was from the streets that border the park. Magers asked Oswalt if he would be willing to work with Craig and Tina Rakes, code enforcement director, to work something out.
“We could try to do that,” said Oswalt.
Plumberg also asked if the residents could police themselves to keep the alley passable.
“I think after this discussion everyone will think about where they park,” he said.
The council then voted to move the matter back to the safety committee for additional consideration.
The council did approve the other two ordinances on the agenda, both involving truck regulations in the city limits. Currently, if truck drivers are ticketed for violations by city police, those cases go through the county. The ordinances approved 5-0 by the council will now move those cases into municipal court.
Before approval, council members asked questions regarding possible costs to the city, including extra time for officers.
“There will be no additional costs or additional time,” said Police Chief Greg Neis. “The only difference with the ordinances is any officer that writes a ticket on this, it will go to the city coffers, not Douglas County.”
Council Member Tom Farmer was concerned that stopping trucks would take time away from officers for their normal patrols.
“We’re not putting any more emphasis on stops,” said Neis. “This is all in preparation for if and when the intermodal comes in so we’ll be prepared.”