A young Grovetown couple expecting to move into their newly purchased mobile home before the birth of their second child recently had to abandon it because of a city ordinance.
Gustavo and Erica Mendoza bought a double-wide trailer and moved it into Creekside Estates mobile home park.
The couple told City Council members at a Monday meeting that they were informed by city employees that they could not finish connecting utilities to the home and move in because it is too old.
In Apirl the city adopted an ordinance that requires any mobile home moved into the city to be 10 years old or newer. The Mendozas' home was manufactured in the mid-1990s.
The Mendozas said they spoke with Randy Gilbert, owner/partner of the park, before purchasing the home in Clearwater, S.C.
"He told us it was OK," Mr. Mendoza said at the meeting.
"We told him the model number, the year of the house, the size and everything, and he told us it was fine to bring the mobile home into Creekside."
At a special meeting with City Councilman Bruce Stoddard and City Attorney Brendan Fleming about the issue on Wednesday, Gilbert said he never asked the year of the home.
He said he asked only for photos of the home and about its dimensions.
Gilbert said before the home could be brought in, the Mendozas signed lease contracts that stated the couple was responsible for obtaining all the necessary city permits to move in and set up the home.
"The mobile home was pulled in without permit applications being made," Connie Smith, Grovetown Planning and Zoning director, said at the City Council meeting.
"If the (transport) company, or Mr. Gilbert, or whoever, had contacted us and given the year the mobile home was manufactured in, we would have advised them against the purchase of the home. It was done without any permits."
The Mendozas assumed the permit to bring in the home was being taken care of by the transport company, which they paid $3,000 to break down, transport and set up the mobile home.
When an electrician tried to get a permit to hook up the electricity on Monday, city officials became aware of the situation.
Gilbert said he was not aware of the final readings and approval of the ordinance. He also said it is not his responsibility to find out the age of homes of potential park residents and enforce the ordinance.
"I'm not the police dog that is going to enforce this thing," Gilbert said.
"You are going to have to pass another ordinance to force me to ask them the year of their home."
City officials said there is nothing they can do for the Mendozas because their home is too old to be moved into the city.
"We already paid out all of our savings to buy the mobile home," Mr. Mendoza said.
The Mendozas, who have consulted an attorney, have been able to extend the lease on their current apartment, and Gilbert said he'd give them free rent for the home at Creekside until the situation is resolved.
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