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Dec. 20th, 2005

Poor White Tiger… Strike shuts down NYC transit system


Poor Kids in Pennsylvania [Court rejects 'intelligent design' in science class]


Poor Ash creek .. more lies.. and more information.. [Trailer park in jeopardy]




Trailer park in jeopardy

08:55 AM CST on Tuesday, December 20, 2005

By ALLEN HOUSTON / The Dallas Morning News

For years, it's been an eyesore to many White Rock residents: a cluster of crumbling, peeling mobile homes that harbors possums under porches, poverty among its residents and the perceived threat of crime to nearby neighborhoods. For the past 14 years, it also has been home to Antonia Rodriguez, a mother of three who, like many residents of Ash Creek Mobile Home Park, came here in search of affordable rent and the solace of the wooded lake nearby.

But the solace at Ash Creek may have ended last week after city officials ruled that the park was detrimental to the surrounding community because of code violations, crime and its impact on nearby property values. The five-acre Highland Road park, which opened in 1949, may have to close.

Now, Mrs. Rodriguez and her neighbors are left wondering where they'll go next.

"It's not fair," she said. "My trailer is the only thing that I own, and it's too old to move.

"I like the trees here. I like the schools for my children. We take walks at the park every day. If I move to an apartment, there will be more crime. How does that help my family?"

Ash Creek's downfall can be partly traced to a zoning issue.

The parcel of land was zoned for single-family homes – not a trailer park – in the 1950s. However, the city allows some property owners to operate in a state of noncompliance as long as the property doesn't harm the nearby area. At its Dec. 14 meeting, the Dallas Board of Adjustment ruled Ash Creek was having an adverse effect on the community.

Steve Crossett of Austin, whose family has owned the park since 1960, will find out at a Feb. 15 adjustment board hearing how much time he has to comply with city rules. At the same meeting, residents will find out how much longer they have to live there.

Residents sad, angry

There is depression and anger among the residents toward the Enclave at White Rock and the Enclave at Ash Creek, which spearheaded an effort with 12 other neighborhood organizations to target the trailer park.

In this campaign, Ash Creek residents such as Richard Graham, 86,[ yes that is my grandfather...] see dark conspiracies.

"I'm too old to be anything but blunt," he said. "The developers want this real estate, and when they couldn't buy it, they went out and found another way to get rid of us."

Susan Graham, [and my mom]

his daughter and president of Save Ash Creek, paces in her trailer, dressed in a faded blue bathrobe. The hospice worker has just woken after sleeping off remnants of the night shift.

"I feel like I'm living in a Victorian melodrama right now," [ Leave it to mom to come up with something so amusing] said Ms. Graham, 56. "We're forgotten people. We have a lot of high-income homes that have been built in the area during the last couple of years, and they think of us as stereotypical redneck trailer trash."  

Ms. Graham, who has lived at Ash Creek for 13 years, has compiled a list of statistics that paint a bleak picture for the residents.

Of 50 trailers, 15 are more than 30 years old and would crumble if towed. More than a dozen residents receive disability assistance or are elderly, and 18 families with children call the park home.

But area residents say rampant crime and a lengthy list of code violations have created an embarrassing eyesore.

Between 2002 and 2005, the city registered 154 code complaints on the property, including reports of wild dogs, illegal dumping and high weeds.

Carl Evans, code inspector for the city attorney, found numerous violations, including open sewer lines, exposed electrical lines and trailers that had built additions against city code.

"It's not well-kept," said Kevin Rachel, president of the Forest Hills homeowners association. "Sometimes there are mounds of trash 6 feet high waiting for pickup in front. As a gateway to the neighborhood, it's not very appealing."

Bill Ash, a 61-year-old retiree who goes by the nickname "Press Punch," squats in his yard petting dogs Weety and Rosaline.

"I'll admit it, we need to spruce things up a bit," he said. "But not one person from any of those neighborhoods ever came and asked what we could do to work together."

Ash Creek critics say that with the addition of developments nearby and an assisted living community under construction, the mobile home park is an anomaly harkening to the past.

Roger Bivans, president of Highland on the Creek Owner's Association, said crime and disrepair persuaded his group to join other organizations.

Calls to police

From 2004 to October, the Dallas Police Department logged 82 calls to the property for incidents including gunshots and attempted assault.

Residents say the gunshots come from a nearby creek, where kids on dirt bikes from other neighborhoods shoot weapons. They say vagrants sleeping under a railroad bridge are responsible for much of the crime attributed to them.

"We're the ones who call the police," Mr. Ash said.

At the recent Board of Adjustment meeting, Mr. Crossett said he wasn't aware that the mobile home park wasn't in compliance with city regulations. His options are limited. He could apply to rezone the property for mobile home use.

"Given the community that has grown up around the mobile home park, I think it would be highly unlikely that they would allow it be rezoned for such a use," said David Cossum, assistant director of planning for the city of Dallas, which oversees the Board of Adjustment.

For Ash Creek residents, December has become a contemplative time. Some like Ms. Graham continue hanging Christmas decorations.

Mrs. Rodriguez's children asked where they will live next year, and she choked up, unable to tell them because she doesn't know.

Linda Madeley, a resident of Enclave at White Rock, tearfully described her own torment.

"I care about these people," she said. "I feel no joy in my heart about what happened, but it had to be done."

E-mail ahouston@dallasnews.com


And to top it off the lost the first round in the courts now mom is looking for a Lawry that knows about real estate law to help the people because GUESS WHAT?


The land WAS NEVER ZONED for Trailers and NO ONE knew that lived there.. BIG WTF


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2005 06:17 pm (UTC)
Poor White Tiger, yes, but I got to admit, I also sympathize with the subway workers - bad timing but GOOD reason. Wish the union could have settled it before a strike was necessary, though!

And HALLELUJAH (hehehe, ironic) to the ruling in PA! Intelligent Design should be taught in sunday schools and by churches to their kids THERE. It has no place in a public school where there is no requirement for a student to acquire knowledge in a BIOLOGY class about a deity of any kind. If this was MYTHOLOGY, that's different. Intelligent Design has no place in a public school.

And I've already talked to you about the Ash Creek nonsense - this whole thing is just ridiculous. The city should dump some money into helping Ash Creek tidy up instead.
Dec. 20th, 2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
Sue Steve Crossett if you must...
"The parcel of land was zoned for single-family homes – not a trailer park – in the 1950s. However, the city allows some property owners to operate in a state of noncompliance as long as the property doesn't harm the nearby area"

So the property has been in violation for FORTY years! Sucks major for the
residents, but they should sue the property owner: hes the jerk, not the council members and not the other residents. The property has been rented for over 50 years and they never took care of business. They just cashed
the rent checks...
Dec. 20th, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Sue Steve Crossett if you must...
I agree, and suggested that to her. Though they should wait first to see the outcome of the proceedings. THEN sue him for what's needed to move the trailers to a location zoned for them.
Dec. 20th, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Sue Steve Crossett if you must...
Again most of these peopel can not move thier tailer so honestly compensation of moving is kind at alose as well in the artical it even mentions that we can't move cause they will fall apart or they have been built on to the home.

Sue-ing the home owner I dont know what the intent is at this point until they lawry is found
Dec. 20th, 2005 09:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Sue Steve Crossett if you must...
If the trailer can't be moved, then they need to sue for the amount it would cost to replace it in the new location (wherever that would be) But this is all premature, since the next proceeding's outcome will sway what the residents of Ash Creek can do.

Homeowner? I'm sorry, I thought Steve Crossett was the owner of Ash Creek?
Dec. 20th, 2005 10:25 pm (UTC)
However, the city allows some property owners to operate in a state of noncompliance as long as the property doesn't harm the nearby area

Suddenly this sounds strikingly familiar.......!

Seven of us were allowed to rent a house zoned for single family residences only, and we were permitted to stay in a state of noncompliance as long as we didn't do any harm.

We were doing no harm, and in fact doing a lot of good - but the neighbours still petitioned and evicted us, because we were weird, and one was black, and one was gay, and the men had long hair, and we HAD to go.

We were horribly disappointed in the community, that people could be that thoughtless and cruel, and it was a huge drain on our finances.

We talked to lawyers. The advice we got was that we were screwed, lick our wounds and try to go on. We could sue the owner of the home who rented it to us, because it IS HIS LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY to know about the zones - but if we did, we'd likely get very little or nothing........

Which brings us all back to the fact that they're going to get screwed and it sucks and it doesn't look like there's anything anyone can do.

Bastards, all of them.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )