Mobile home fracas draws in DA and Lyon County Commission
MOUND HOUSE – Clear signals have yet to emerge from Lyon County regarding a mobile home in Mound House that allegedly violates building codes.
Some county officials say Joe Christian will be prosecuted for not removing a mobile home on Calcite Drive after building a permanent house earlier this year.
“Mr. Estes has agreed to prosecute,” Lyon County Commissioner Bob Milz said after talking with Lyon County Manager Steve Snyder.
District Attorney Robert Estes, however, gave no clear indication that he planned to prosecute.
“At this point we are still gathering information to determine what action to take,” Estes said. “This is not the kind of thing that becomes a criminal prosecution. This would be a civil issue. I think it should go through the (Lyon County) Commission. The commission, if necessary, should rescind what the county (Community Development Department) has done. It may be we would have to go through court for a court order to rescind.”
The controversy arose in July when building inspector Howard Reid gave final approval for a house-and-mobile combination, noting the mobile home would be used as guest quarters. Earlier indications had been that Christian would remove the mobile home prior to final approval.
John Evasovic, Lyon County Community Development Department director, acknowledged that Reid made a mistake but he said that doesn’t allow Christian to violate county law.
Estes added: “Everyone has to follow zoning laws. Just because government bureaucracy makes a mistake, that does not create a technicality that somebody can ride through on.”
Christian’s attorney, Ernie Adler, has argued that Christian can’t be told to remove something that was approved. Adler, a former Carson City state senator, additionally said a court case regarding the mobile home was dismissed in November.
“(Christian) feels it’s a final decision on the county’s part,” Adler said. “You can’t retry him. That’s double jeopardy.”
Estes doesn’t buy that argument.
“My respects to Ernie, double jeopardy only applies to criminal cases, not civil,” Estes said.
Estes said he had the case dismissed because it was filed as a criminal matter and he believes it belongs in civil court.
Neighbors have kept close tabs on Christian’s home building. Residents Joe Mueller, Weldon Ostermeyer, Frank Johnston and others have crusaded for months to have a mobile home removed from Christian’s property.
Milz has pledged to put the mobile home issue on the Jan. 20 commission agenda.
“We pushed it with Bob Milz to put it before the commission,” said Mueller, who lives across the street from Christian. “We are all going to be there. At least we’re getting somewhere on this. We’re just trying to protect our property.”
“The rules are supposed to be the same for everybody,” said Johnston, who lives about 100 yards down the street. “Basically, my concern is the way it was handled. The commission should tell the building department to enforce the rules and remove the trailer.”
Milz has mentioned bringing in an outside attorney or possibly the Attorney General’s Office to handle the case if Estes doesn’t.
“The DA is there to enforce the laws we make,” said Milz, who represents Mound House. “If he doesn’t do that, we have a problem.
“We need to get this behind us. We’re going to address the mobile home issue.”