Lyons mobile home park owner issues statement
To the Editor:
I am the owner of Canalside Mobile Home Park in Lyons, which has been the subject of recent news reports. I would like to share recent updates, relevant history and immediate plans for the park’s residents who are all owners of their manufactured homes.
As of this writing, we are 90% complete with installation of new underground conduit and wiring that comes from the new NYSEG pole and transformer, the main power source, and ends at a main “shut off” for each home within the park. We have had delays in receiving parts for the new disconnects but, God-willing and weather permitting, we should be ready for a final inspection by Friday, Aug. 16. Service to the park will be turned on after an independent electrical inspection approves our contractor’s work. Once approved, power will be restored to the park and made available to homeowners at a maximum of 100 amps. Each home will then be inspected to determine the level of electrical current that can safely be transmitted to it. Some of the homes are not upgraded to accept the full amperage and will be serviced according to what they can handle. We will work with residents, the health department, community programs, legislators, and others to help eligible homeowners prepare for possible upgrade to electrical service in their homes.
Manufactured homeowners and park owners have a unique relationship. There are shared responsibilities and there are individual responsibilities. There are also local and state codes and Department of Health regulations that must be met. Park owners are responsible for the basic infrastructure that supports utilities and hookups on the lots where homeowners place their trailers. Homeowners are responsible for any upgrades and hookups from their homes to the park services, not unlike a new town water line installed along a rural road where it is the homeowner’s responsibility and cost to tie into the service.
This same responsibility applies to residents to connect to our septic, which was mentioned in a news report, and which we have inspected and repaired where necessary. We are working with those few residents who need help properly connecting.
Unfortunately, the citations and violations received from the local code enforcement office have been happening not just in the last few years since my ownership, but for over 40 years. Why nothing was done before my purchase, I cannot say. However, contrary to the news reports, the electrical citation for “bare wires” has not escalated in my tenure. When I purchased the property, I was unaware and never informed that the park had been cited, nor did I know that the existing NYSEG transformer was not strong enough to handle the mobile home park usage. This is not an excuse. It was my responsibility for due diligence, but in all our dealings, it did not get disclosed nor discovered during the purchase. Buyer beware.
Despite the perceived conditions of the park, I DO care about the families who live here and have tried to accommodate their needs during this. The real problem with the electrical service and reported power surges is a shared responsibility, and homeowners must take some of the responsibility to monitor the electrical system within their homes. Unlike the stereotypical portrait of a “slumlord,” as a property owner, I do NOT have a bankroll of cash that I hoard from lot rent in lieu of making the property habitable. If I had known upon purchase, the issue would have been addressed much earlier and we would not be in this predicament.
Since 2017, tenants have been informed in notifications from my property manager that they cannot run numerous electrical items in their homes, to unplug unnecessary, unused items and to try to conserve energy. Unfortunately, in the brutal heat wave of this summer, they did not comply, and power surges were felt.
Since this incident, it is now clear to me that this park has been a sore subject in the town for years. As a new owner, I did not realize the extent of the angst felt against the park by the town or code enforcement. I hope to work with town officials and park residents to improve this perception. Please know that I am a responsible landlord and property owner and have been working to correct a costly and complex issue long before the drama of this emergency unfolded.
(Editor’s note: This letter is longer than our listed word limit of 400; because the issue affects so many people in Lyons, we have decided to run the entire letter.)