Clock is ticking on Country Meadows and commissioners are frustrated

County getting stonewalled

[ by Mark Reaman ]

Gunnison County commissioners Tuesday expressed great frustration with the owners of the Country Meadows mobile home park located north of Gunnison. After a closed door executive session where the commissioners consulted with the county attorney Matthew Hoyt, commission chair Jonathan Houck, speaking on behalf of the board, said the owner, River Walk, LLC, was completely ignoring any correspondence by the county and appeared to be trying “to run out the clock” on any potential alternative to selling the park.

“We have tried to communicate in the way they asked and the most alarming thing is that we have received absolutely no response from the owners,” he said. We want to operate in good faith but the lack of any communication with us is not operating in good faith.”
The residents of the 72-lot park were informed earlier this summer that the property is up for sale and that an offer is pending. Under Colorado law, the property owner of a mobile home community must give residents 90 days notice before accepting an offer to decide if they would also like to make an offer. The residents own their trailers but rent the land beneath them.

It is not clear whether a new owner would displace the hundreds of residents in the park, but the uncertainty has brought some of them to the county requesting help with legal representation and making an offer to purchase the property for themselves. That is where Houck said the owners appeared to be running out the clock and he estimated there were less than 30 of the 90 days left to organize a potential alternative.

The owner of the park notified residents in June that it anticipated accepting a $2.95 million offer on the property after fulfilling its legal obligation to provide 90 days notice to the residents. The offer was received on June 24.

“We are requesting information we can use to possibly work out a deal and possibly structure financing but we are hearing nothing back,” Houck said. “This is important work. The people living there are important to our community. We have a commitment to them like we have a commitment to every citizen in Gunnison County.”

Houck said commissioners would follow through with a promise to again meet with residents of the park at a time convenient for them. That meeting was requested for Wednesday evening, August 18 at the county courthouse.

“I also think the Housing Authority has a significant role in this,” said Houck. “It is time for the Housing Authority to engage with us in this conversation and I trust (commissioner) Roland (Mason) will carry that message. They should be part of this meeting.”

According to Hoyt, the county is not aware that the owners have responded to a Colorado Department of Local Affairs subpoena to allow an onsite inspection of the premises. Houck said the county should affirmatively and cooperatively support the efforts of DOLA.
Houck mentioned last month that even if the financing process plays out, the seller may decline the county’s/residents’ offer but the effort needed to be made to save so many homes of people living and working in the community.

“If we hear back from the owners, we will continue to put our resources into trying to find a solution to this important issue,” Houck said. “Country Meadows is not just a mobile home park, it is people and a community that we see. They live here and they are important. We are committed to the well being of the people in our county.”

The board made it clear they would continue to meet with Country Meadows residents to explore ways the county might be able to assist them. The Wednesday evening work session was one such step.

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