Ravenna council agrees to revise trailer ordinance
After much confusion and discussion over the issue, the Ravenna City Council voted to revise an ordinance concerning trailers in the city.
Citizens addressed the council at both the July and August meetings about three citations that had been issued to property owners of mobile-homes. The citations were issued in accordance with an ordinance passed initially in 1997 and was then amended in 2005.
The ordinance states that all landowners with trailers in the city before 1997 would have been issued permits and would be then considered “grandfathered in.” This means anyone owning a trailer before the ordinances were passed would not be subject to certain specifications.
The primary complaint from both councilmembers and those citizens present was unclear wording. Both parties said the wording of the grandfather clause was misleading as it states the landowner must live in the trailer in order for the clause to stay in effect.
Councilmembers said that was not the original intent as it would be discriminatory to allow homeowners to rent their property but not mobile-home owners.
Mickie Delucio, of Poplar Street, presented the council with a petition with signatures from other citizens supporting changes to be made to the ordinance. She said she was at the meeting in support of her neighbors who rent a mobile-home from Lewis Officer and his wife.
Delucio also said she was concerned that certain homes were being singled out and the ordinances weren’t being enforced fairly.
“There are 11 other trailers being rented in town,” she said. “Nothing has been done about those others. Only three trailers have been cited.”
Councilwoman Joan Richardson said those home were only cited because the council had received complaints about those homes.
“The ones that have been complained on are the ones that we address,” she said.
“But, we have to start making a stand on these ordinances. If an ordinance is going to be enforced, it needs to be enforced on all.”
The council discussed with those citizens present what issues they had with the ordinance and agreed to rewrite the ordinances to be more clear, concise and easy to understand so as not to raise any questions in the future.
Fire Chief David Harvey told the council the question shouldn’t be about what type of home someone owns when citing individuals, it should be about whether the property is well-kept.
“The problem isn’t what kind of home you live in,” he said. “The problem is that many need to be cleaned up and those fall under the nuisance ordinance which can easily be enforced.”
Harvey said ordinances are meant to upgrade and improve the community and by not having clear wording, it opens “a can of worms.”
“We don’t want guidelines to shove people out,” he said. “But I wouldn’t think any of us are against enforcing guidelines for trailers. But, we can’t single people out and shove them away.”
The council agreed to clarify in the amended ordinance the grandfather clause and that permits are sold with the trailer, meaning if the property is sold by the original owner, the grandfather clause still applies to the new owner since the property had been there before the ordinance was passed.
The council will read the amended ordinance at its September meeting and will allow comments and suggestions from citizens who are present before approving the changes.
In other business the council:
•Approved pay resolutions for CEDA to complete the first phase of the home rehabilitation project.
•Approved to keep the current property tax rate.
•Voted to change the date of the September meeting to 6 p.m. on Sept. 10 to avoid having the meeting on Labor Day.