Work begins to clean up ‘severely deteriorated, unsafe’ mobile home park

Dilapidated properties sold for scrap

By Kevin Spradlin

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April 14: ‘I wish there was something we could do’

HAMLET — Work is underway to address a group of dilapidated mobile homes that city of Hamlet officials said pose a health and safety risk to residents.

Robert Wachlin told The Pee Dee Post on Monday that he purchased two of the more than two dozen mobile homes on Hamlet Lake Court, located off Boyd Lake Road less than a quarter-mile from the city of Hamlet baseball complex and American Legion Post 49 facility.

Photo by David Woolard

Photo by David Woolard

Wachlin said the work begin a week ago. By Monday afternoon, he and family members had cleared most of the first trailer. The plan was to haul it away to their family’s Scotland County home and have a bonfire.

“I’m just trying to clean up Richmond County’s problem,” said Wachlin, who added he didn’t plan to sell anything from either property.

“Ain’t nobody making any money,” said Wachlin, who was assisted by Trish Wachlin and Shirley Wachlin, among others. “I’m doing this just to keep busy.”

The Hamlet Lake Court mobile home park covers 4.4 acres and is registered to Souder Enterprises LLC, according to online county property records, and has a recorded address as 601 Rockingham Road in Rockingham. The individual owner is listed as Ralph Souder. Records indicate Souder took ownership of the property in December 2004 from Thomas and Sallie Wilkes.

Wachlin said there are 26 mobile homes. All but four are vacant; three are occupied by tenants and a fourth is occupied by squatters.

Stricklin makes noise

Boyd Lake man Jimmy Stricklin expressed concern about the condition of the mobile homes during a public meeting on April 14 of the Hamlet City Council.

Gail Strickland, the city’s zoning administrator, had a ready answer.

“If the owner does not take care of removing the ones that are not repairable,” the city can proceed with the condemnation process. Strickland mailed a certified letter on April 14 to the property owner.

That letter included a long list of code violations – click here for the PDF. Strickland gave Souder until 5 p.m. May 15 to abate the issue or submit a written plan for repair or demolition. Failure to adhere to the city’s timeline could result in additional action by the city, Strickland wrote, which could “include daily fines of up to $50 per violation, condemnation of the property until abatement is made, a public hearing and legal proceedings.”

The letter cited 16 units as having code violations. Those are just the ones that have a known address.

“There are other units in the mobile home park that are not numbered; all are in severe/unsafe conditions,” Strickland wrote.



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