Mobile Homes Could Be Kicked Out

Some City Leaders Say They Need To Go

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Jeff Stensland

CARBONDALE, IL - Mobile homes will be moving their way out of town if a local city council moves forward on its plan.  The city of Carbondale banned mobile homes in neighborhoods 33 years ago.  Those that were already in place were grandfathered in.

The city says these 21 mobile homes have outlasted their welcome, and need to finally go.  A single-wide mobile home sits one lot away from Kathy Fulmer.  She sees it every time she goes to her kitchen sink.

"Yucky is the best word I can use to describe," Fulmer says.  "You just get tired of seeing it."

Fulmer says it has been empty for at least the last ten years.  It is on the list of mobile homes that some city leaders want to move into a mobile home park or out of town altogether.

"If they were maintained, it's fine," Fulmer says.  "These aren't, they are old and they need to go."

Driving through town, you quickly notice ones that have been kept up and recently painted, compared to those that are overgrown by weeds, some with broken windows.

The city of Carbondale outlawed mobile homes in residential neighborhoods in 1976.  City leaders never expected they would still be around today.

"All of these have basically been non-conforming uses for 30-some years," Carbondale City Manager Mike Kimmel says.

City leaders originally wanted to get rid of all the mobile homes in neighborhoods in town within the next two years.  Owners of some of the properties say that's not enough time to recoup their investment.

Radine Paper owns a mobile home that her grown son lives in.  Paper recently replaced the windows, and just this week installed awnings over the windows and doors.  Paper says the city should give property owners like her some leniency.

"I'm completely invested in this city, and I wouldn't dream of blighting it," she says.  "I want people to bring business in, I want the university to do well.  If I thought I had a horrible trailer--and you take a look at it and see what you think--I'd get rid of it."

That decision is now up to city staff.  Tuesday's meeting ended with no decision on the matter.  It now bounces back to the city manager's office to make changes to the plan, then return for a council vote in two weeks.  One change the city is considering is to only remove the mobile homes that are within city limits.  The current plan would affect mobile homes within Carbondale and three homes outside the city limits that are still within the city's zoning district.

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