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Renville County pressing for compliance at two manufactured home parks

The Renville County Board of Commissioners expressed frustration about manufactured home parks in Olivia and Buffalo Lake that have not complied with demands by the county to provide storm shelters.

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A civil trial scheduled for October has been postponed until January after the owners of the Meadowcrest Manufactured Home Park in Olivia offered to install two prefabricated structures to serve as storm shelters. The county had filed a lawsuit alleging the lack of a storm shelter or approved evacuation plan for residents of the park violates the law. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune file photo

OLIVIA — The Renville County Board of Commissioners is pressing to see that two manufactured home parks in the county meet the requirement of offering storm shelters for their residents.

County Attorney Dave Torgelson told the commissioners at their meeting on Dec. 1 that the Meadowcrest Manufactured Home Park in Olivia and the Brookview Estates Park in Buffalo Lake remain out of compliance.

There is some progress in Olivia. The county attorney said the owner of Meadowcrest has submitted plans to erect two prefabricated structures to serve as storm shelters. The city is currently reviewing those plans to determine if they meet requirements.

“It’s hoped that will resolve the matter,” said Torgelson. He said he believes the city is relatively satisfied with the plans, at least based on a preliminary review of them. The county filed a civil lawsuit in September 2019 against Meadowcrest LLC and its owners over the lack of a storm shelter.

The case is currently scheduled for trial in January, but that would likely be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions on court proceedings.

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Commissioner Greg Snow expressed frustration that the matter has remained unresolved to this point. “Why have these rules if the laws are not enforced properly?” he asked.

Similar frustrations were voiced about the Brookview Estates Park in Buffalo Lake. Torgelson said there had been hope that the property could be sold to a new owner willing to take on the costs of bringing the park into compliance with regulations.

“Unfortunately, not much progress there,” the county attorney told the commissioners. He said the current owner does not appear willing to bring the park into compliance, and is operating it without a license. He said there has been no success in finding a new buyer willing to take on the costs of bringing the property to code.

If there is no success, the county’s next step would be to begin a process of closing the park. Torgelson said the process would take up to a year and provides safeguards to allow tenants time to find new housing.

In discussions with the county attorney, the commissioners also voiced frustrations about the slow pace of removing materials at the former Buffalo Lake ethanol plant site and lack of criminal charges for an alleged theft of property there.

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