HARKER HEIGHTS — At a Tuesday City Council workshop, officials considered amending an ordinance that is preventing rehabilitation of the aging Country Squire Mobile Home Park on Indian Trail.

Following up on a January workshop, Kip Lewis, owner of Lewis Investments and Country Squire, presented the council with his rehabilitation plan, which calls for converting the rental community into a home-ownership community after the installation of up to 138 new single- and doublewide units.

But Harker Heights Code 152.36, which requires newly installed manufactured homes to sit at least 35 feet away from one another, is stifling Lewis’ plans. Lewis wants this provision amended before reconstructing the park.

“The problem is that current houses in the park don’t meet the requirement,” said Fred Morris, planning and development director. “If (Lewis) pulls two out, he can only put one in.”

And if that’s the case, Lewis could theoretically leave the property as is, and eventually sell it, City Manager Steve Carpenter said.

Morris said he expected an amendment proposal to pass through the Planning and Zoning Commission in late May. If members recommend changing the law, Morris said the revision would probably head to the council for a vote by June 11.

Approval would dictate that Lewis submit a detailed development plan to the council before obtaining a permit to start renovations.

Country Squire homes are currently valued at about $1,500 each. Lewis said rehabilitation could raise park home values to $30,000 each, pointing to steep 16-year value increases at Killeen’s Stonegate Estates, which he bought in 1997.

Harker Heights could financially benefit from park renovations. Lewis projected that rehabilitation would infuse more than $171,000 into the local economy through increased tax revenues, if new homes are installed on all 138 lots.

Officials questioned how Lewis would respond to shoddy maintenance by park tenants. Lewis said he’d kick them out, and that he wasn’t aiming to attract inattentive homeowners.

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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