Mobile home causes ruckus in Mound House
MOUND HOUSE – A mobile home snafu in Mound House has ensnared the county manager, district attorney, a county commissioner and a former state senator with a dozen or more neighbors egging them on.
Joe Christian on Calcite Drive had a mobile home on a two-acre lot. This year he erected a stick-built house and kept the mobile home.
Neighbors Joe Mueller and Weldon Ostermeyer, backed by more neighbors, insist the mobile home must go, according to county law. But a Lyon County building inspector gave final approval for the house-and-mobile combination, creating a legal quagmire of sorts.
“This has got to be moved,” Mueller said. “Why doesn’t the district attorney follow Lyon County law?”
John Evasovic, county director of community development, wonders the same thing.
“The DA doesn’t want to address zoning issues,” Evasovic said.
Lyon County District Attorney Robert Estes is on vacation this week. Estes personally is handling the Christian matter and reportedly will send a letter to Christian asking him to remove the trailer but stop short of prosecution, if possible.
Chief Deputy District Attorney John Schlegelmilch said the one incorrect inspection approval presents legal complications. He said that approval led their office to have a citation against Christian for the mobile home dismissed in November.
“There are a lot of issues here that can’t be addressed in the blink of an eye,” Schlegelmilch said. “The big thing is the building department issued a permit. That’s a difficult issue to overcome.”
Nonsense, said Evasovic, whose department issues building permits.
“There is no legal obstacle,” Evasovic said. “The inspector made an error but it doesn’t waive the county codes or exempt them. Christian knew the mobile home needed to be removed.”
Evasovic said the initial plan check for the house construction had a note for “mobil (sic) to be gone before final on home.” The final inspection on June 22, which Christian’s property failed, also ordered removal of the “old trailer.”
The inspection done July 6 by Howard Reid, however, said “mobile used as guests quarters.” Evasovic said that was a mistake.
“A mobile home used as guest quarters, that’s illegal,” Evasovic said. “The DA was to prosecute but the DA says you can use a mobile home as guest quarters. That’s wrong.”
That, however, is the opinion Christian’s attorney, former state Sen. Ernie Adler, will rely on to keep the mobile home on Christian’s property.
“(Christian’s) position is they issued a citation,” Adler said. “We went to a hearing and they dismissed the citation. He feels it’s a final decision on the county’s part. You can’t retry him. That’s double jeopardy.”
The district attorney’s office has similar concerns.
“Quite honestly, we want to be on solid ground before we go any further,” Schlegelmilch said.
Adler said Christian doesn’t have the means to move the mobile home or a location to put it.
“He plans to keep it,” Adler said.
Mueller sees it real simply: The law says Christian can’t have a stick-built house and mobile home on the same lot and the district attorney’s office hasn’t done enough to correct the matter.
“There seems to be something real funny that this guy got away with,” Mueller said.
Mueller, known for paying attention to his Mound House neighborhood, called Lyon County Commissioner Bob Milz about Christian’s mobile home after justice court dismissed the illegal mobile home charges in November. Milz passed Mueller along to Lyon County Manager Steve Snyder, who handed the matter off to the district attorney.
“I own property and he’s devaluing my property,” said Mueller, who lives across the street from Christian. “If he has a mobile, I want one, too. He needs to conform with the law. All he has to do is move this off and we’re happy.”