Temporary housing placement draws backlash at council meeting

MARSHALL — The placement of a pair of manufactured homes in Marshall was the subject of some discussion at a Marshall City Council meeting Tuesday. The city had given permission for sections of the homes to be temporarily kept on the street until they could be placed on foundations. But neighboring residents spoke out against that arrangement, as well as some of the property owner’s actions.

In the end, council members said the house segments could stay where they were until Oct.19. But then, they had to be off the street.

Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said the city had received permit applications from MasterBuilt Homes, LLC, represented by Paul Schierholz, to temporarily put segments of a manufactured home on a city street. The city had received three permit applications since August. The first two permits the city approved allow home segments to be temporarily stored on Scott Street and Iowa State Avenue from Aug. 8-31, until they could be permanently placed on lots on Scott Street and Iowa State Avenue.

After there were delays with the project, the city approved a third permit, to store sections from the two manufactured homes on a dead end of Iowa State Avenue from Aug. 28-Oct. 5. That permit was also granted an extension until Oct. 19. However, Olson said, the city had received grievances from residents both before and after the extension was granted.

Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson said city staff were caught between valid concerns from local residents, and meeting the developer’s needs.

“It’s unfortunate we have to bring it to the council,” she said. But Marshall City Attorney Dennis Simpson said it would be up to the council to decide whether to approve the permit extension.

Neighboring property owners on Iowa State Avenue and Iowa State Circle spoke out against continuing to keep the house segments on a public street.

“There are four modular units, and they have been there since August,” said Iowa State Circle resident Heather Moreland. “Why can’t (Schierholz) store the modular units on his own property?”

When housing segments were on Scott Street near the intersection with Genesis Avenue, they blocked school buses, Moreland said. She also said she had concerns about security cameras that had been placed on the units while they were on a public street, and on a lack of maintenance on another nearby lot owned by Schierholz.

Moreland also said Schierholz had “not exactly been an upstanding member of the Marshall community,” referring to claims made by residents about conditions at the Broadmoor Valley manufactured home park, which is also owned by Schierholz.

Iowa State Avenue resident Heather Reber said she was concerned about snow building up around the home segments and blocking street access if they weren’t moved by Oct. 19.

Kevin Stroup, an attorney representing Schierholz, called for council members to focus on the permit, and not on complaints about Schierholz, “When he’s not here to defend himself.” Stroup also criticized the city for not sharing more information about the complaints it had received.

“My concern is, we don’t have a complaint until you show it to us,” he said.

If the city pulled the permit for the home segments, Stroup said, “We’re going to have a problem.”

Construction foreman David Alvarez said the house segments would be off the street by Oct. 19. He also said the security cameras Moreland mentioned were placed between the two manufactured homes after they were vandalized, and the cameras weren’t aimed at the street or other homes.

“I do think we need to honor (the permit),” said council member James Lozinski. However, he moved that the house segments had to be off the street and the city right of way by Oct. 19.

The council passed Lozinski’s motion unanimously.

Council members made some additional statements on the matter later at Tuesday’s meeting, during their individual reports.

“We do need to be considerate of our neighbors as we do things,” Lozinski said. In the case of the modular homes, he said, “They are big structures that are sitting on the street.” At the same time, Lozinski said he also thought the council should support city staff’s decision.

Meister said it was also important for the council and city to follow up on complaints from residents.