County moves for safer mobile homesUntil the Emergency Management and Communications Committee of St. Croix County met Jan. 16, there were no ordinances on the books or in the works in the county requiring tie-downs or shelter sites for mobile home parks.
By: Gail Winship, Hudson Star-Observer
Until the Emergency Management and Communications Committee of St. Croix County met Jan. 16, there were no ordinances on the books or in the works in the county requiring tie-downs or shelter sites for mobile home parks.
Buck Malick, County Board of Supervisors chair, and John Borup, board member representing the village of North Hudson, made a motion at the Jan. 16 committee meeting to require every mobile home, regardless of when it was built, to have a tie-down.
The motion, which carried unanimously, further stated that every mobile home park shall have a storm shelter accessible to residences and a warning system. It also requires each mobile home park in the county to have an emergency operation plan in place and updated.
There is a state law pertaining to these issues, but it only addresses mobile homes built after April 1, 2007. The County Board committee members were looking for something more comprehensive and to include older mobile homes. The measure will eventually be forwarded to the full County Board for possible approval.
Malick and board member Chuck Mehls have retained an intern to research the issue before any ordinances are finalized.
“The committee was concerned about the lack of safety for residents of mobile homes that are held in place by gravity only,” Borup said. “Tie-downs and shelters are significant safety factors for those living in mobile homes.”
Borup recalled living in a mobile home when he and his wife were first married and said there was always cause for concern when a major storm would hit.
Part of the discussion to bring required tie-downs and shelters into the county code is about cost.
“We are looking into the possible availability of federal grants so cost would not be a burden,” Borup said. “This plan is in motion, but it is not a completed project at this time.”
Mehls is the leader in this project, according to Borup. Mehls was not available for comment prior to presstime.
“The committee is very concerned with the safety of mobile home parks,” Borup said. “Especially when you hear stories of tornadoes doing so much damage and motor home parks being so vulnerable.”