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Richland residents could lose their Main Street mobile home

A mobile home in the 400 block of West Main Street in Richland was the cause of a controversy at the City Council meeting on Monday. (Gretchen Teske/The Union)
A mobile home in the 400 block of West Main Street in Richland was the cause of a controversy at the City Council meeting on Monday. (Gretchen Teske/The Union)

RICHLAND — Two residents in Richland are at risk of losing their home if the council decides to enforce an ordinance that has deemed their dwelling illegal in city limits.

At Monday night’s council meeting, City Attorney Phil Parsons explained to the council a letter was sent to Nazareth Lankford regarding a violation pertaining to his mobile home.

The city has an ordinance that does not allow for mobile homes to exist within city limits.

Council member Alisa Tolle said the state of Iowa changed the code regarding mobile homes in 2012. The ordinance states that if the mobile home was built before June 1976, to remain in city limits it must be in a mobile home park, which the city does not have.

Jerry Lankford, Nazareth’s father, said he understood the dwelling was “grandfathered in,” because it is on a foundation and an agreement was signed by neighbors at the time of the ordinance change. However, the home can only remain grandfathered in as long as the home does not change ownership.

When the Lankfords transferred ownership of the home to their son, the agreement was broken. The Lankfords claim they were not aware of the ordinance.

Neighbors brought the concern to the attention of the City Council, saying they wanted the home removed because it does not follow city ordinance.

Council member Michael Hadley said he was upset to see this problem arise.

“When I saw it on the agenda, it literally made me sick to my stomach,” he said.

Hadley said the neighbors complimented the new resident as being the best neighbor they had in years but also called their actions “a huge slap in somebody’s face” for bringing the problem to the attention of the council anyway.

The item was tabled until an agreement can be worked out.