City directors postponed a decision on whether or not to allow a local family to continue to sleep in their recreational vehicle while selling their mold-damaged home.
Kendra Parker and her family, who reside at 505 E. Helena St., asked for a prohibited use development permit because of a black mold problem caused by storm damage two years ago. Parker said her family has been living in the RV since March of 2017. Previous to that they were living in a tent in the backyard, she said.
The planning commission approved giving the family more time by a 4-3 vote at their last meeting, against city staff recommendations, with the stipulation the family would have 180 days to find another solution.
City staff also recommended the city board deny the permit. Senior city planner Ben Rhoads explained there are two major problems with the permit -- zoning code prohibits allowing two single family dwellings on the same property and the occupancy of an RV on property not zoned for that use. He also presented photos of the RV getting utilities directly from the house.
Rhoads said city staff reviewed the criteria for allowing a prohibited use permit and found that six of the seven criteria were not met or were only partially met. He also said that city staff received a letter from one of the neighbors saying they were unopposed to the request.
"Staff believes the occupants can pursue other options to restore the structure to safe livability," he said, adding that the RV has been occupied since March 2017, giving the applicants ample time to remedy the situation.
Parker said that an investment group is trying to help the family sell the house. She said her family spent the first year after the storm damage fighting with insurance companies to get a settlement. They received a small settlement that helped pay for a roof repair.
"We tried to repair the house to start with, and we are just out of funds. We have spent our entire life savings trying to save the house," Parker said.
Parker said her family has already spent $16,000 to $20,000 to repair the roof of the home, and that it will cost another $90,000 to $100,000 to complete the repairs and remediate the mold. She provided city board members with a copy of an estimate for mold remediation from a mold inspector.
"Give it 180 days and we will be gone, one way or another, if we have to walk away from that house. We will be gone from that house, we will be gone from this city," she said.
Director Brad Burns expressed sympathy to the homeowner and suggested expediting the sale process. He pointed out that if the house has black mold now, the problem will only get worse during the hot humid summer months. He suggested allowing the family more time, but limiting the time to less than 180 days.
Mayor John Turner pointed out that the 180 days will not begin until 30 days after the board passes three readings, which would be the first Tuesday in May.
"So from today, we're really talking about 240 days from now," Turner said.
Directors Carol Smiley and Reid Carroll asked Parker to develop a more concrete and detailed game plan to present at the next board meeting so that directors can make a more informed decision.
"Right now if we make a decision, it's going to be pretty much black and white and that doesn't allow for the human factor," Carroll said.
Turner explained that board members could vote to place the motion on its first reading, so that it could continue to move forward, but said board members did not have to make any decisions at the meeting. The board will not have to reach a final decision until the third reading, which will be on the first Tuesday in May, he said.
In other business, board members approved a resolution revising the significant development permit for an airplane hanger, built by Gryder Network.
The company originally requested to build a 17,500-square-foot airplane hanger at Smith Air Field to house the SkyDive Skyranch business. The revision reduces parking and limits the use of the facility to hanger only, with no office or retail space.
Two subcontractors who have worked on the project addressed the board in opposition of the measure. Tony Shepard, owner of Shepard Construction, and Chris McDaniel, owner of ARCO Excavation and Paving, said they are involved in a lawsuit with the contractor over the unpaid work they have done on the project. Both Shepard and McDaniel said they are concerned the changes proposed in the significant development permit will reduce the value of the airplane hanger, which will impact the liens they have against the property.
Dan Gryder, owner of Gryder Network, said he is also involved in a lawsuit with the contractor over the project. He said the changes would not create any reduction in value, and that he is looking for the quickest solution for the two subcontractors to be paid for their work.
City administrator Phillip Patterson said directors should keep in mind that the legal issues between Gryder and the two subcontractors are a private matter that doesn't play into city code. City attorney Jay C. Williams agreed that the only criteria that directors should base their decisions on are those laid out in the city code.
Smiley thanked the city staff for the work they have done on the resolution.
"We have to do what we have to do, whether we like it or not sometimes, and I am sympathetic to those that have not been paid and I hope there is a resolution to that," she said.
In other business, the board took the following actions:
• Approved the purchase of an asphalt compactor for $106,822 from Riggs CAT of Springdale.
• Approved an architectural services contract for Fire Station No. 2 with Matthias J. Pearson Architect PLLC.
• Approved the second reading of Ordinance 18-06, amending municipal electrical code.
• Approved a significant development permit for JWT Properties, LLC at 1510 E. Main St., for a 15,000-square-foot poultry supply and retail store.
• Approved a facility usage agreement between the Parks and Recreation Department and the Siloam Springs Flyers Swim Club.General News on 04/08/2018
Print Headline: City postpones decison on family living in RV