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April 28, 2000     Cape Gazette
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April 28, 2000

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CAPE G, Friday, April 28 - May 4, 2000 . 15 Mobile home tenants group reawakens; tries again to flex muscle By Michael Short The Sussex County Manufac- tured Home Tenants Association (SCMHTA) used to be a group of considerable political muscle. But the once powerful group, originally galvanized by landlord- tenant issues like rent increases, had dwindled to almost nothing by last fall. That was then. Now, the group is undergoing a revival of dramat- ic proportions. Last fall, the group represented tenants in three manufactured home communities. Today, it rep- resents tenants in 16 communities and it's making noise about trying to revamp the landlord-tenant code, always a subject of intense controversy in Delaware's legisla- ture. Association President Ed Sper- aw said lack of communication al- most did in the group, perhaps better known as the Mobile Home Tenants Association. Issues include rules and regula- tions, rent, water utility fees in manufactured home parks and other, often familiar issues. "You have got to keep the lines of com- munication open...You never know what the next big issue is," said Speraw. "This organization is trying to get back on its feet," said Associa- tion member Art Shapiro. Speraw said that the group is in- terested in "things that separate manufactured home communities from trailer parks," explaining that the tenants organization wants to continue to educate peo- ple about the industry and how much the housing has improved over the years. Tenants live in communities and should be regarded the same as other homeowners, he said. That's an issue that both home- owners and park owners agree up- on. "If there's a fire on the news, it's County planners recommend approval for 256-unit Bay Crossing development OK given despite residents' concerns By Michael Short The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission recom- mended approval for a 256-unit age restricted housing develop- ment just north of Midway on Thursday, April 13. Bay Crossing, formerly known as Carpenter's Crossing, was rec- ommended for approval despite some concerns from local resi- dents. The Sierra Club and two mem- bers of the Citizens Coalition, a local watchdog group, opposed the project. There were also several letters and a small petition with 24 signa- tures opposing the project from the neighboring properties of Dove Knoll or Midway Park. "A great deal of effort has been made to make this application be- fore you better," said Joe Conaway, representing the devel- opers, Blenheim Lands Inc. The project had been recom- mended for denial last November by the planners. But there have been significant changes since then, including the deletion of a connecting road through Midway Park. That change eliminated one of the biggest concerns of neighbor- ing property owners who worded they would be overwhelmed by traffic from a large development. The project will be intended for older residents with restrictions on the age allowed. Plans call for 39 acres of open space, recreational amenities, a large clubhouse and what Blenheim Lands President Jay Senecha called a development "rich in lifestyle." The project was originally ap- proved a number of years ago as Carpenter's Crossing, a 133-1ot single family home subdivision which never broke ground. Blenheim Lands then returned with a request for 279 units inNo- vember, the project that the plan- ning and Zoning commission rec- ommended denying. Mable Granke of the Citizens Coalition tookexception to testi- mony from traffic experts that senior residents will drive less and QUALITY ROOFING SUPPLYCO, WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF VINYL? Replacement & New Construction Windows All Vinyl Construction Stainless Steel Balance System * Custom Sizing One Week Leadtime on Custom Sizing. w I N D 0 w 1572 HWY. ONE LEWES, DE (302) 644-4115 create less traffic. She also said the project is "a density that should not be granted because of cumulative impact." Mike Tyler, coalition president, said Route 1 is being choked with develop- ment. "Route 1 is still a prob- lem," he said. "Even .!33 units w0ul d give consider, TYLER able concern." Tyler called the argument that older residents are on the road less often "age restricted double talk. "I guess we put a gate on them and do not let them out. I think it is double talk." HOW TO PROTECT i YOURSELF FROM MEDICARE FRAUD NEVER accept medical supplies or equipment from a door-to-door sales person. NEVER give your Medicare/ Medicaid number to anyone for a =free" service, They do not need your Medicare/ Medicaid number if the service is truly =free". NEVER give your Medicare/ Medicaid number over the telephone or to people you do not know. -.pelaw.are , I,dicare ,-"Fraud Alert " ' 1. oo.zzz.9014 Call for free brochure or presentation This message was funded, in part, by a grant from the Administration on Ag- ing. Department of Health and Human Services. The expressed views are solely those of the Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities. always reported as a mobile home fire. No one ever says it was a stick-built home fire," he said, ar- guing that such characterization is straight out of the 1950s. Sen. George H. Bunting Jr., D- Bethany Beach, spoke to the ten- ants group on Monday, April 10. Bunting told them it was unlikely that another effort to revamp the landlord tenant code would pass the legislature this year. Such efforts have been argued repeatedly in the legislature in the last 20 years. But Bunting said there was little chance of passage this session, es- pecially since no bill has yet been drafted. He said he would aponsor legislation, although it might be largely symbolic, if the tenants can draft it before the end of ses- sion on June 30. While it has little chance of pas- sage, Bunting said that "if you're trying to make a point and say you are still in the ball game, then maybe that is what you should do." Speraw said that "I would like to see us up around at least 22 communities and I would like to see us hammer out a landlord-ten- ant agreement that we can all live with. Without that united front, people are trying to fight separate issues. And quite honestly, the owners love that."