Minturn’s 5,000-gallon-a-day water loss in the Union Pacific mobile home park (letter)
May 22, 2018
Union Pacific Railroad is under the impression that they cannot repair the broken water line in their park because the repair may exceed 50 percent of the value of the mobile homes affected.
Clearly Minturn zoning Article 22, Chapter 16-22.40 has a 50 percent repair rule that only applies to "structures" and would certainly not apply to a park infrastructure. Under the Colorado Mobile Home Park Act, CRS 38-12-212.3 subsection 1: ("landlord" is defined as the park owner), the landlord (defined as the park owner) is responsible for all park infrastructure and under subsection 2: No landlord shall require a "resident" (defined as the owner of a mobile home) to assume the responsibilities outlined in subsection 1.
I am certain that this is a misunderstanding between the town and the railroad. The town would not adopt an ordinance that would not let a park repair its own main line, and I am equally certain that the railroad would not seek to avoid compliance with the law.
The Colorado Mobile Home Park Act was adopted for the following reasons: "The Colorado general assembly hereby finds and declares that mobile homes, manufactured housing and factory-built housing are important and effective ways to meet Colorado's affordable housing needs. … The general assembly further finds and declares that because of the unique aspects of mobile homes and mobile home park ownership, there is a need to protect mobile home owners from eviction with short notice. … The general assembly further encourages local governments to allow and protect mobile home parks in their jurisdictions."
Please note that the town shut the water off this Monday morning, May 21.
FYI: Recently, the law students at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law prevailed in a nearly identical case. The Wayward Wind Mobile Home Park in Fort Morgan, Colorado, decided that they would not fix the water problems in the park because they would be selling it to a re-developer soon.
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The residents were forced out with only a few days' notice because of a lack of water. The law students proved that the park owner failed to repair the water situation and thereby cheated residents out of a proper notice. The court found multiple violations of the Colorado Mobile Home Act.
In this case, I honestly just think that it is a misunderstanding between the town and the railroad and that litigation can be avoided with a phone call. For now, I think that Union Pacific feels powerless to fix it.
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