Future of South Congaree mobile home parks to be decided Tuesday

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Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 7:23 PM EDT
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SOUTH CONGAREE, S.C. (WIS) - Some South Congaree mobile home residents could be given a deadline to leave their homes Tuesday night.

The town council is scheduled to hear a business license appeal from landlord Naomi Halter at its Tuesday meeting.

The town revoked her business licenses in August over violations of town ordinances and being a drain on town police resources.

Halter appealed through her lawyer, arguing she has worked to correct the issues and cooperate with the town. The attorney did not return a request for comment on this story.

If the appeal fails, town ordinances require all tenants of the parks to be given a 30-day notice to leave.

Town records show Halter’s business licenses for Sana Circle, Genesis Circle, Ciera Circle, and Cactus Court are revoked.

A WIS investigation into Halter found leaking wastewater, roaches, and holes at some of her properties.

Since the story aired, some wastewater leaks have been fixed.

WIS also found she has faced scrutiny from state and local regulators for conditions at some of her mobile home properties, but it’s unclear to what extent those conditions will impact the council’s ruling.

WIS spoke with two mobile home park tenants. They asked WIS to withhold their identities.

One resident told WIS they were not aware of the vote.

“The first thing that comes to mind is where would we go? Would we be reimbursed our security deposit? Would we get back our first month’s rent? What about the people who actually really can’t find places in Columbia?” he asked.

The second resident echoed the concerns about finances.

“If that’s the case I’m going to need my deposit back. We stayed here, we paid rent here, and that’s all the money I done put into this place,” she said.

Mayor Cindy Campbell has been outspoken about her frustration at the conditions within the park and her desire to clean the parks up.

She said she will push for an extended transition period for the residents if the appeal fails.

“I think 90 days would be more than enough time for folks to receive the assistance that they need to find other places to live, and I do think that would get them through the holidays, they would not have to feel stressed about that as well,” she said.

Campbell would need two votes (along with her own) to make that change with the five-person council.

Some resources have been made available in recent weeks.

Attorney Chad Fuller announced to a crowded town council meeting on Oct. 18 his willingness to assist the residents without charging them.

He did not return a request for comment on Monday.

The non-profit Homeless No More provides emergency housing and is aware of the pending vote.

It expanded its footprint to Lexington County this year.

Additionally, the local assistance group Eagles for a Cause is collecting goods to provide to the residents.

Its co-founder Lauren Aull said the outcome of the meeting will drive what’s next.

“Depending on the outcome of the meeting [Tuesday] night, it’s going to go into a whole other direction. Do you help them inside their homes, or help prepare them for how they can relocate?”

State Sen. Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington Co.) told WIS her office has contacted SC Housing to determine what resources are available.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday night at the town hall.

It was originally scheduled for Oct. 18 but was delayed after Halter’s home burned under “suspicious” circumstances.

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