The future of the Arlington Estates mobile home park remains up in the air as owner Clifton Johnson of Blair works to get flood-damaged trailers removed from the property.
Johnson appeared before the Arlington Village Board of Trustees on Monday to get input on what may come of the property once clean up is completed.
As of this week, there are six mobile homes on the property that were condemned after March's flooding and, under FEMA regulations, have to be removed.
Johnson said he sent notices to property owners on May 14, giving them 30 days to remove and clean their personal property.
But, he said, there are many hoops to clear, which may be a strain for the owners. In order for the trailers to be moved, the owners must pay all the taxes, obtain a scrapping certificate and hire a company that can legally move the mobile homes and obtain additional permits for moving.
Johnson said there are only two companies in the area licensed to move trailers and the cost is about $3,500 for each mobile home, which he believes may be hard for some of the owners to pay.
Board Vice Chairman Mark Sundberg would like to see flooded properties cleaned up soon.
"I think we need to get something going," he said "I think there's several properties that are just as bad — are nuisance properties — as what we've addressed before."
As he works to get his property cleaned, Johnson suggested village board members think about what they'd like to see on the property.
"That's a two-and-a-half acre piece of property right in the center of your town on the main highway," Johnson said. "I'd like to hear what you guys would like to see on there."
Board Chairman Paul Krause said the village's strategic plan has changed since Arlington Estates was developed. Johnson has been able to keep the mobile home park in the area, despite it being zoned as industrial, because of a non-conforming use permit.
But that may not be the only regulation keeping the area from housing mobile homes again. Under FEMA regulations, because the property is in a floodplain, the elevation would have to be raised for it to be considered for new residential property.
In a packet of information given to the board, Johnson said if the village brought in 4 to 5 feet of fill dirt and rezoned it, he could build apartment buildings or senior living apartments. Or he suggested he could turn it into an RV Park, pointing to the Cottonwood Marina in Blair as an example.
"I would lean towards the longer (use) tenants," he said.
He even threw out the possibility of the village buying the property from him for $175,000.
Krause said he will talk with board members to see if a committee meeting can be scheduled and the two members and Johnson can talk about the issue further.
Whatever the future brings, Johnson said he wants to do what is in the best interest for him as the owner, for the village and for Two Rivers Bank, which he said holds the financing for the property.
"I want to do what makes sense for everybody," he said.