23 Jefferson County families forced from their homes without warning

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Nearly two dozen families living in a Jefferson County mobile home park say they were told to leave their homes Friday afternoon without warning.

News 4 Investigates has learned that it comes amid a long-running dispute over a sewer line between the landlord and the city of Arnold, leaving families stuck in the middle.

“I built a beautiful house for the kids and it was just taken from me, it’s just taken,” said Eric Jurgensen, owner of a home in the park. “Someone not doing their job is pushing me to put my family in another state of flux, which is not fair.”

According to Arnold City Administrator Bryan Richison, someone reported a leak in an above-ground sewer line that crossed a creek and ran to the Ozark Hills mobile home park.

Richison says crews confirmed the leak on Friday morning and at 7 a.m. he cleared contractors to rip out the line.

“This is a very serious situation and we needed to address it as soon as possible,” Richison explained.

Crews removed the pipe and stopped the sewer. They did not run a temporary line, leaving the homes in the mobile home park habitable since the city ordinance requires sewer service.

“We had to act fast, that’s a really old tip,” Richison said. “I don’t know if you could safely install a temporary pipe.”

The line is a well-known problem. It has been deteriorating for years and is at the center of a long-running dispute between the city and the owner. Both claim that the other is responsible for the line.

“The city has always fixed that section of the sewer line,” said Rob Rosenfeld, who owns the land and leases locations to mobile home owners.

Rosenfeld says he didn’t learn of the leak until after the city began ripping out the sewer line on Friday.

He believes it’s the city’s job to hold the line. Rosenfeld says a mediation was scheduled for next Monday to discuss ownership.

“The exposed section of the sewer line in question is on their part of the property, we were not given any easements to go to their side of the property, technically we don’t even have the legal right to repair driving,” Rosenfeld explained. .

Without a sewer line, Rosenfeld explained that they shut off the water in the park to prevent sewage from flowing back into people’s homes.

While the city first learned of the leak Thursday evening, residents of the Ozark Hills mobile home park said they discovered it Friday afternoon when notices were posted on their doors telling them they could not live in the houses.

News 4 Investigates asked the city if there was a plan to help displaced residents find new homes, the city said there was nothing in place.

“No water, no sewer, what are they going to do? I don’t think it’s fair,” said David Edwards, who had to pay for a motel room for himself, his friend and his two children.

Other residents say they live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford housing.

“Where am I supposed to go? I have no money.” said Terry Pyatt. “If I spend my money on a hotel, then I have no gas, and if I have no gas, I have no gas. way to work, without a job, I don’t have a place to live either.”

Pyatt says she poured all of her savings into buying her mobile home in January. She said she couldn’t afford a hotel, so she planned to stay in the park.

The families News 4 spoke to asked why no one had told them sooner. The city claimed this was a legal detail and could not alert families until the sewer line was cut.

The city and the landlord said they were to meet on Monday to mediate over the pipe.

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