Pioneer Estates residents avoid eviction

County rescinds permit revocation order

Donna Lenz Wright/The Week

(Published August 18, 2006, 5:00 p.m.)

The more than 300 residents of Pioneer Estates, W7955 Creek Road, Delavan, will not have to vacate their homes by the Sept. 1 deadline ordered by the Walworth County Land Use and Resource Management Department.

The Walworth County Zoning Committee voted unanimously to rescind their previous order to revoke Pioneer Estates owner Dan Daniels' conditional use permit in front of an auditorium that was so full that people were standing outside the Walworth County Annex building in the rain Thursday evening.

The permit allows residents to live in their mobil homes, which they own, but are placed on property owned by Daniels.

Since Sept. 20, 1994, the zoning department has struggled to get Daniels to comply with zoning laws, provoking the action, said Michael Cotter, zoning director.

But the day before Thursday's meeting, Attorney Dale Thorpe, representing Daniels, submitted a binder filled the with approximately 150 applications and accompanied by over $22,000 in permit application fees that the county has been waiting over 10 years to receive.

"This binder has all of the necessary permits that needed to be applied for as well as conditional use applications, rezone applications and permit fees," Cotter said.

"This is what we were looking for," said committee member Nancy Russell. "For years and years the zoning agency was ignored. Now finally we're getting the attention that I think should have been given a long time ago."

"From the beginning, the Walworth County Zoning staff had no intention of pulling the conditional use," Cotter said. "(The committee) didn't want to do this, but this was the last straw that we needed to do in order to get some action on Mr. Daniels behalf."

With that, in an unusual order for a meeting of this nature, Matt Weidensee, associate planner, moved that the zoning agency vote to rescind the revocation order before moving onto the specifics of the case, "so that the people living in the mobile home park will no longer have to live under the fear that they will have to vacate their homes."

Before the final vote, several agency members requested reassurance that the process would continue on a speedy basis and answers to what would happen if compliance again came to a halt.

"We have a long way to go," Cotter said. "There are many steps that have to be done.

"The great fear is that what if they just stop. Well, then we'll bring them right back to the revocation procedure," he said.

The vote then passed.

Many months of work lay ahead in this matter, including issues relating to spacing between homes, spacing from roads, spacing from property lines, storm water basin location(s) and storm water basin size, among others, Weidensee said.

"We'll continue to work with the applicant on how to design the mobile home park or redesign it if that's necessary," he said.

In the meantime, the stop work order issued will stand, meaning that no new homes may be placed on the property until the order is withdrawn.

-end-

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