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City Could Raze Crumbling Trailers at Walden Pond

The New Port Richey City Council is being asked to decide tonight whether it wants to authorize workers to immediately clear the site.

New Port Richey city leaders are being asked to decide tonight whether they want the city to immediately rid Walden Pond Mobile Home Park of more than 50 deteriorating, unsafe trailers.

The city building department has posted notices of condemnation on 52 of the 77 trailers still standing at Walden Pond. Three additional trailers have already collapsed. Five additional trailers are uninhabitable.

Walden Pond has been a concern for city officials for some time. Earlier this summer, the mobile home park's owners ordered residents to leave, but failed to follow legal guidelines for eviction. Since then, some residents have vacated the park; others have remained behind. The dumpsters that served the park's residents have been removed, leaving trash and debris to pile up.

City officials have issued citations to the park's owners.

Now, officials plan to present council members with an emergency resolution tonight, Oct. 2, that, if approved, would authorize the city to move immediately to raze, remove, abate or otherwise mitigate the problem of the mobile homes for which notices of condemnation were posted. The homes with notices are vacant.

Officials have raised concerns about public safety and health issues at the park.

The condition of Walden Pond “constitutes a serious fire and health hazard,” the resolution states. Mobile homes “have been stripped of supporting metal and foundations so that the buildings may collapse at any time,” according to the resolution.

Unless immediate action is taken, there is a “great likelihood that the surrounding property may be destroyed by fire originating from such unsafe and hazardous structures,” the emergency resolution states.

The condemned trailers also contain litter, trash and debris “with breeding rats, rodents, insects and other germ carriers of diseases,” according to the resolution.

The resolution orders “problem structures be dismantled, demolished, abated, or removed immediately."

In the wake of many residents leaving, people have been taking pieces off trailers. New Port Richey Code Enforcement Officer Liz Nichols informed officials of the three additional collapsed trailers last week and raised concerns about the safety conditions at the park, where scrapping and scavenging are a serious concern.

There is also leaking sewage. Some mobile homes do not have power. Some are on the verge of collapse.

Park owners removed dumpsters from the park in August. Earlier this month, the city had to spend six hours removing the large amount of trash that residents left on the ground. It took three 20-yard dumpsters and six hours to remove the trash, Nichols said.

Walden Pond also owes the city roughly $25,000 in unpaid utility bills, according to a memo.

The City Has Tried to Work With The Park's Owners

Acting City Manager Doug Haag said the city met Friday with representatives of Walden Pond, LLC, the park's ownership group. He said that Walden Pond has been asked to present a plan for mitigating the problems at the park with some of its funds at Tuesday’s meeting. He said that Walden Pond has been asked to come up with a plan to address the park's problems using at leasr some of its own money - not the city's. That plan is supposed to be presented Tuesday night.

“We’re hoping that they will take it upon themselves to do what’s right,” Haag said.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall.

Haag did not know how much removal of the 52 trailers will cost. He said the city will charge Walden Pond if it has to deal with the nuisance trailers itself.

“We want to work with them because we don’t want to bear the burden,” he said.

 

See also
Collapsing Trailers Raise Safety Concerns at Walden Pond

Dumpster Removal at Walden Pond Raises Concerns

Pasco Seeks to Connect Walden Pond Tenants with Aid

Residents Continue to Occupy Walden Pond After Closing Deadline

Pasco Exploring Ways to Help Walden Pond Tenants

Tenants Oppose Removal from Walden Pond

Mobile Home Park Closing Leaves Residents in a Bind

Tenants Upset About Walden Pond's Closing

FEMA Canvasses Walden Pond

Mark October 02, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Where is FEMA ? Isn't this a result of a flood?
Alex Tiegen October 02, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Mark, The park did flood during Debby, but it hasn't been said reason for closing it is the closing. FEMA provided some assistance to residents, but its deployment in the area has ended. However, the city thinks it might still have a chance to get some FEMA funding for cleanup.
Sandra Dornick October 02, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Wonder if a court order has been issued to the property owner for their assistance in cleaning it up. I realize the city can put a lien on the property to recoup it's money back at some point, but the money being spent on private property isn't fair to the rest of the county. Let the courts make these demands of the now slumlord.
Alex Tiegen October 02, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Sandra, I am not sure of the legal process for final condemnation in this case. A judge may be able to give a final condemnation order after the resolution is passed.
SANDRA L. FARRELL October 02, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Law was not properly followed to evict the tenants. A few weeks ago Section 8 Hud released app. 500 or 600 new applications. These tenants would have benefited from that program. These landowners are not exempt from the law and need to start eviction properly before any more time goes by. And if they don't comply, this is a time when the city needs to step up, get it cleaned out, and take the property if the owners don't pay.
Hugh October 02, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Where is Walden Pond Located?
Alex Tiegen October 02, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Hugh, Walden Pond is located west of 19, off Oelsner
m carlisle October 03, 2012 at 04:26 PM
This is the result of negligence of the park owners. Residents where not given adequate time to relocate. The city should do everything possible to make the park owners take responsibility for cleaning it up. There won't just be the cost of cleanup but then the cost of legal actions to recoup original costs.
BlFalconskeep October 20, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Sadly to say, the city has given every opportunity before and after Debbie to get Paul (owner) to clean up and maintain the property. This is a situation that is much like disciplining an unruly child that won't pick up thier toys. The only way to remedy the situation is clean it up yourself and take the toys away because the child will not do as they are supposed to. The city needs to think of not only the residents left at Walden Pond, they also have to take into consideration the safety and health of the residents surrounding Walden Pond as well. Asbestos fibers could be floating through the air. Rats and other vermin as well as poisonous snakes inhabiting the destroyed trailer debris and eating off the discarded garbage. These are just some of the concerns for the community surrounding the property.

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