South Hickory mobile home park receives further County approval to move forward

After receiving Creek County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioner approval for his application to rezone an 8.5-acre tract at 16136 South Hickory from agriculture to residential manufactured home last month, applicant Don Lovy had to request a Special Exception to allow a mobile home park in a RMH district from the County Board of Adjustment last week.

Lovy explained that there has been a mobile home park with various names and owners in this location since the 1960s, but that it has never been in compliance with County regulations. He is purchasing the property and is trying to get it into compliance before taking over operations.

At the CCBOA meeting, Lovy explained that in addition to bringing the property into compliance, his intent is to improve quality of life at the park. “As requested by DEQ,” he said, he is lowering the number of allowed units from 78 to 30. By doing this, the amount of water flow will meet DEQ requirements and will be more beneficial to residents as a whole.

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Lovy reported that he has also already hauled off over 12 dumpsters full of trash and junk from the park and has many more infrastructure and beautification projects underway. One of those projects includes adding 50 feet of green space from pulling back some of the lots. And on the west side he will provide storage space for residents to further help the overall look of the property.

This application was unanimously approved by the Board of Adjustment.

Applicant Sandy Wen appeared before the Board to request approval of 6 short-term rental homes (Airbnbs) in Jennings. County Planner Wendy Murrary explained that there would be 650 square feet of livable space in each unit and that the property is currently surrounded by agriculture zoning.

Wen told the Board that she has been in this business since 2018 and that she has had “mostly positive reviews” on her other properties.

One neighbor, who resides to the north of the subject property, spoke in opposition of the plan, but ultimately had many questions and concerns for Wen that appeared to be put to rest by the end of the presentation.

The neighbor said, “I’m all for growth, but we’re just 10 miles from Mannford and [Keystone] Lake…A lot of us hunt; it’s mostly agricultural [out there]. What kind of feasibility study did you do to put those in? The majority [of Airbnbs] in Creek County [have 4 units, at the most], and they are on the lake or on a large acreage like 80 acres.”

“One of my other concerns,” he continued, is that there are “a lot of grow operations out there. And I have a feeling that [these] could go toward worker housing. I know at least one grow where [the employee is] living in the facility.”

Wen responded to all of the neighbor’s concerns, saying, “We have fencing and posted warnings and I have Airbnb experience,” and offered to show him documentation she brought proving her ability to run a safe business, which he accepted.

Board Member Steve Weaver had questions about what defines “short-term,” and was told “1 day to 1 month.”

Board Member Mary Gannaway had several questions for Wen, including whether or not there would be a manager on site at all times, if the neighbors would have the ability to contact the manager, if so, and what steps Wen has taken to alert surrounding neighbors to this avenue of communication.

Wen confirmed that a manager will be on site at all times, not just when guests are present, and that she will send neighbors certified mail with that contact information.

Gannaway made a motion to approve the application with the contingency that “short-term” be defined as “30 days or less.” The motion passed 4-1 with Weaver as the sole dissenter.