Planning Commission approves mobile home placement on abandoned property

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home Planning Commission approved two variances Monday night that will allow a retired Lebanon couple to site a manufactured home on a once-abandoned property and move to Sweet Home.

Kenneth and Dolly Hamlin plan to move their current home from a park in Lebanon, build a garage and move to 1650 11th Ave., a home that Linn County took for nonpayment of property taxes.

The home had been an irritation for neighbors, with disruptions caused by people living in and visiting the house. By 2012, property tax payments were five years behind, and the property owner had died.

The county foreclosed in an accelerated process because the owner wasn’t living in the home at the end of 2012.

In the year up to that point, police responded frequently to the address for disturbances. After the foreclosure hearing, the occupants left the house. Linn County demolished it in January 2015.

“I spent part of my childhood in this area,” said Kenneth Hamlin. “My grandparents lived in Cascadia. I spent time in Sweet Home.”

Later, he and his wife spent a year in New Zealand, he said. When they returned, they settled in Linn County. He worked for the Linn County Road Department for 15 years, and he often worked in the Sweet Home area.

“I’ve always had a connection to this town,” he said. He recently retired, and this property gave him the chance to move to Sweet Home.

“The property was taken by Linn County for back taxes,” he told the Planning Commission, and he was among the county employees who tore it down.

“I thought that would be a nice lot to have,” he said. It’s by the racquetball court and Northside Park. He and his wife were able to purchase the property.

“Our desire is to make it our home,” Hamlin said. “We want to move our mobile there, build a garage. We want it to be a nice place to live, to enhance the neighborhood, become members of the City of Sweet home and make our life here.”

The problem was that the home they already own is only 24 feet wide. Ordinance requires manufactured homes to be at least 28 feet wide. It also requires a roof pitch with a 3-inch drop every 12 inches. His home is somewhere between 2 and 3 inches per foot.

The Planning Commission granted the variances 5-0 following a public hearing held Monday during the Planning Commission’s regular meeting. Voting yes were James Goble, Greg Stephens, Chairman Henry Wolthuis, Eva Jurney and Edie Wilcox.

Lance Gatchell and Ned Kilpatrick were absent.

“Thansk for helping tear that building down,” Goble told Hamlin.

“It’s good to see,” said City Manager Craig Martin following the decision. “I think it’s good seeing the property redeveloped and put back in productive use.”

The Planning Commission also appointed Goble to serve as chairman. He will succeed Wolthuis beginning next meeting, the first Monday in March. Wolthuis will serve as vice chairman.