In the Mohawk Valley of New York state, an ongoing battle between a manufactured home community and the town it’s in, one side landed what could be a knockout blow.
According to the Times Telegram, Bill and Virginia Jaquish, owners of the Creekside Mobile Home Park in German Flatts have been in a battle to keep the community open since 2013, and last Thursday, State Supreme Court Justice Norman I. Siegel denied a motion by the couple to set aside a judgment he issued in November.
The November ruling called for the Jaquish’s to close down the community, which is located in a flood zone. The couple applied for a floodplain development permit, and the town of German Flatts denied their permit. The town also claimed that Jaquish’s have “encroachments built in the floodway” of the creek that the community sits near.
According to town officials, the “floodway” is defined by law as the area where all development is generally prohibited due to the danger of flooding, according to a statement issued by the town.
As a result of the ruling, the Jaquish’s must close down and vacate their property, along with the residents, by May 31st, 2017.
“The floodway is defined by law as the most dangerous area, where all development is generally prohibited,” said German Flatts Supervisor, Frank Spatto.
“The town board is encouraged by the Judge’s ruling again upholding our denial of the Jaquishs’ floodplain Development Permit. We now look forward to the Jaquishs’ compliance with the Judge’s order to close the Creekside Park and move the residents of the Park out of harm’s way by May 31, and before another flood should occur.”
Even with the denial of motion, it appears that the Jaquish’s plan to keep fighting however they can.
“We brought this motion to ask the judge to reconsider based on evidence we believe he did not consider in earlier decision,” said Attorney Mark Wolber, who represents the couple.
“The reason we brought the motion is that when you do an appeal you can only bring what was brought before the trial judge.”
Wolber stated that there is another notice of appeal on this order and he expects the appeals will be consolidated and brought before the Appellate Court. He plans to ask the Appellate Court to stay the judge’s order until it makes a decision and to file the application for the stay in the next 30 days.
“The appeal itself will probably take about a year,” said Wolber.
“This mobile home park [sic] has been there for 50 years,” said Wolber. “It was flooded on only one occasion when the rest of the town was also flooded. To close it does not make any sense to me at all.”
But Spatto contends there’s more to the story.
“We all remember the storm of 2013 when residents of the park were evacuated to safety by town personnel and equipment. The flood law that the town board must enforce is important for public safety, and to maintain the town and its residents’ eligibility for federal flood insurance and flood relief,” said Spatto.
“The Jaquish’s have refused to comply with this flood law, even though their property is clearly in a regulated flood zone defined by the federal government. The town cannot sacrifice programs, which are of benefit to the entire town and its residents, especially others who live in the flood zone, both upstream and downstream, to favor one single property owner. We would be shirking our public duty and responsibility if we did that.” ##
(Image credits are as shown above.)
Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.