The tensions between the Village of Ferrelview and Ferrelwoods Mobile Home Park have been high over recent months.
Residents have complained about the park’s owner entering property without permission, spraying weeds without consent of the owner and eye-popping penalties for late fees.
After months of back-and-forth between the park management and the board of trustees, a lawsuit was filed last month against the village and Phil Gilliam, the village chairman.
The suit claims that on or about June 30, 2003, the village and the mobile home park entered in an agreement that the company paid $10,000 and the village assumed responsibility for maintaining, repairing and replacing water lines and individual meters.
The Colorado-based owners of the property had Mauer Law Firm of Kansas City file a suit is claiming the village is overcharging for relocating such meters that shouldn’t exceed $50. Documents show the village is charging $750 to hook up water services for an initial connection fee.
Gilliam noted the village said ‘no’ to doing the work for $50 since the water meter operator said they have to re-run all the lines and excavate the site for moving a water meter.
The park is currently paying the difference between the $50 and the $750 fees under protest until it can be legally reviewed.
The chairman noted Ferrelwood was placing new trailer homes — the last 10 — overtop of the water meter pits and that limits access in the future. Modifications had to be made to skirting of the homes to provide access.
“We have had a lot of back and forth,” Gilliam said.
That is just one of many issues the village has witnessed by Ferrelwood.
The lawsuit claims the village failed to provide occupancy permits, which caused loss of sales. The company claims the damages suffered — water meter installation, lost sales and incurred business costs — are in excess of $25,000.
The village started to enforce the occupancy permits and Gilliam noted that Ferrelwood would move in new residents without applying for a permit or submitting a site/lot plan.
Another point of contention is the cost of the license fees handed to Ferrelwood. They are currently paying $25 per trailer rented/leased or available for rent/lease, while the cost for apartments or apartment rented/or available for rent is $7.50 each — which was passed last December.
The back-and-forth issues also feature a claim that Gilliam uses his position on the board to inspect lots and homes for ‘his own purposes.’
Rules enforcement has been sporadic according to residents. One resident noted that the company came in and mowed the grass in front of a trailer and tore down flowers planted.
Other instances that were told to the Citizen include an employee of the mobile park walking into people’s yards and spraying for weeds. Multiple residents noted they weren’t informed the company would be in their yards nor were they told if the spray was safe for animals.
If a resident wants to sell their house, they can have one sign posted. Ferrelwoods owns homes on the property for sale, but they have signs in the window and yard signs.
Residents aren’t allowed to have no trespassing signs according to warnings given to them by the complex, but multiple residents say that is nowhere in their lease agreements.
“It is their own rules vs. our rules,” Gilliam said. “It is do as I say, not what I do.”
Two weeks ago, Gilliam noted another issue arose with Ferrelwood when a tree company was in town doing work.
A call was made to see if that company was licensed to work in the village. They were not. So, after that paperwork was handled, the company came back out to finish up the work as a licensed business in Ferrelview.
“We haven’t changed anything and they haven’t either, that is the way they roll,” Gilliam said. “Not that I have a problem doing work in the village, but the ordinance says if you will come in and do work, you must have a license to do so.”
“It is still a battle. We are trying to do what we are supposed to do, especially with the audit being done. They told us ‘you have ordinances to enforce and you need to enforce them.’”
Former Ferrelwood resident Bart Whorton reached out to the Citizen to discuss issues he had with his former tenant.
After paying rent late, he was assessed legal fees for an eviction notice fee that was a moot point after he paid. He said he was told by manager Renee Smith the company couldn’t accept partial payments.
Whorton later had his vehicle towed from his property by the company, who failed to use a tow company licensed to work in the village and also failed to notify law enforcement as required, he said.
During a court session earlier this year, it was brought up partial payments could be accepted. On April 5, when Whorton went to make a partial payment he was again told it wasn’t allowed.
Whorton filed a small claim case against Ferrelwood for towing his van illegally. The case was dismissed with prejudice on May 20 after the parties agreed to mediation two weeks prior.