Grapevine, Mobile Home Owners At Odds Over Additions

GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – It looks like any spare room, in any North Texas home.  Phillip McNeal built the room 20 years ago for his son, but now the city of Grapevine wants to see some paperwork for it.

McNeal, along with several other residents in the Trailwood Mobile Park, are being asked to get their add-ons up to code, or they must remove them.

McNeal said he has a permit from 1992 but no proof of inspection.  “I don’t know whatever happened to it.” He also doesn’t have a permit for the porch he built a decade ago.

Grapevine received a complaint about one of the city’s mobile home properties, and as a matter of code checked on the others as well.

“Why are we waiting 27 years after the fact,” says Tim Guiton, who adds many of the mobile home owners have had these extra buildings and porches for decades.

Many of the residents are worried they may not have the money to tear down their add-on structures if they are forced to tear them down because they aren’t up to code.

Grapevine building official Scott Williams says they would work with residents to get their structures up to code, and that the city did not have any immediate plans to force residents to tear their add-ons down.

Trailwood Maintenance Manager Kevin Stacy says even if the residents get their permits and pass inspection, he was told by a city employee that all the structures would still have to go.  “They told me today that all the additions had to come down, no matter what,” says Stacy. “It’s bullying because they are trying to push these people around because they know they can’t defend themselves,”

If the residents can’t get their properties up to code they could face finds and possibly other legal action.  Residents at Trailwood says they can’t move to other parks in the area because their outdated homes would not be accepted.

A spokesperson for the city of Grapevine says they are simply making sure the homes are up to code. Right now, they say they are just in the fact finding stages.

  • Grapevine, Mobile Home Owners At Odds Over Additions « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] Grapevine, Mobile Home Owners At Odds Over Additions It looks like any spare room, in any North Texas home. Phillip McNeal built the room 20 years ago for his son, but now the city of Grapevine wants to see some paperwork for it. Go to News Source […]

  • jh

    20 years before the city notices if ur that inefficient u shouldn’t be telling anyone to get up to code!there should be a statute of limitations

  • Nancy

    Picking on the poor people again. You don’t quite fit into their society so you gotta go, one way or another. I NEVER thought I would see this in Texas. Makes me ashamed.

  • Stella Hodges

    Grapevine! cut your officials saleries to save some of OUR” the taxpayers money and get on with running a desireaable community. how are you going to use Tax dollars to house the homeless?. Grapevine !I am ashamed of you.

  • Gus

    It’s the elite snobs vs the regular guy

  • mark brady

    this is so so very wrong ……and yes it is totally about property values
    ! lets run them off and build expensive homes on the property or maybe a mall or even better a new stadium …….texas used to be texans , i can assure you the people making up reasons to mess with old folks in a trailer park are damn sure NOT from texas !

  • cvp

    i can think of a couple of reasons: another waterpark or entertainment venue or the trailer park is an eye sore to the people that runs all the marinas around the lake.

  • oldman68

    If the city was so worried about these trailers being up to code why hasn’t someone been around in 27 years to check on them’Isn,t the code enforcement doing their job?Maybe that dept should be eliminated if it takes them that long to find these problems

  • Brian WIlliams

    Does Grapevine not have anything better to do than send code out to a mobile home park. They need to worry about other things than homeowners that can’t afford 500k houses. The real thing is the city would love to shove the mobile home park out and build something else there. They are working hard at getting rid of the people that live there and having one of there guys build something there. Have some compassion Grapevine and leave the mobile home park alone. Sounds like the code guys need a job to do. Maybe send those guys out to clean up the lake and get rid of all the trash that is thrown out at Lake Grapevine. Maybe the whole code dept. needs to let go of some of there employees and cut the expense of the city!!!

  • OldDog

    If these have to be up to code, It must be inspected using the code prevailing at the time of construction. Retroactive code enforcement in most cases would be in violation of U.S. constitution.

  • liz

    My parents and I moved to Trailwood Mobile Park in September 5,1969 and the
    add-on room was done November 1974 which was my room. I grew up in this city and lived here for 26yrs before being able to better myself enough to by a house. I am appalled at the way the city is bringing these code violations up now after all this time, especially since the ordiance didnt take affect until 1998.
    There are far worse mobile home parks in this city with code wise and criminal wise then Trailwood. Why is Trailwood being singled out when you have the apartment complexes and Wheel Estates? I am have always considered Grapevine home until I heard about this ricidilous tearing down people’s homes.
    I am totally ashamed of this city.

  • Carol

    How can this be inforced on property that has been there for years. I am ashamed to say I grew up in Grapevine. Mayor Bill Tate should take a look at this and yes it is Poor vs money

  • Jim K

    One would think that Grapevine officials would have better things to do with their time than chase a 20+ year situation. Our tax dollars at work!!! NOT

  • Judy Parker Gossett

    Is it just about money? Can the homeowner’s really just go down and pay for a permit and be okay? Or will that just start the dominoes falling? From a proud Grapevine resident that is not too pleased with their city at the present time.

  • dfwproud

    Hold on folks, you’re making hostile posts about something you know nothing about. Being close to this trailer park, let me give you some facts. I’d also invite all of you to drive through Trailwood, and take a look at the DEPLORABLE living conditions the owners of this park have allowed to exist.

    First, this isn’t the bad old government picking on the little guy. Yes, some of the residents here own their trailers, but the vast majority don’t. The park is owned by a company in Irving that rents most of the trailers to the tenants. They are out to make a buck from the residents without giving them a decent place to live. It is not the residents who are responsible for the illegal construction in most cases, it’s the landlord who has failed to obtain permits and inspections, and failed to maintain the illegal sttructures in any kind of decent condition.

    Very few of the structures – additions, carports, patio covers, storage buildings, etc, were EVER permitted. Yes, some were built ages ago, but many are obviously very new. Again, hardly any ever had permits or inspections.

    Why is the city just now getting involved? Probably for a couple of reasons. First, if these rattletrap, cobbed together structures were built next to your comfortable suburban home, you would have called the city as soon as the first nail was driven. That doesn’t happen in a trailer park where many residents don’t even speak English. Oh, Channel 11 showed you some poor old elderly people who are being “picked on”, but poor old elderly people are the distinct minority in this trailer park. So violations don’t get reported the way they would on your street. Secondly, these older, cobbed together structures are starting to deteriorate. Because they are falling apart, and people that live around the park are fed up with the eyesore, the area residents began to complain.

    And if you’d paid attention to the story, it doesn’t say the city is telling anyone to tear anything down. Did you not hear the reporter say that the city is in a “fact finding” phase, and has merely requested that the illegal, dilapidated structures be permitted and brought up to code, you know, just like they would in your subdivision? I’m sure some of the structures will have to be torn down due to safety concerns, because they are beyond repair, but I’ll guarantee if you drove through Trailwood, you would agree that it was necessary.

    Nobody iss going to be homeless; this involves add-ons and similar homebuilt structures, not the trailers themselves, although if you saw some of these atrocious trailers, you would be amazed that the owner of the park would even think about letting a human being live in them. SHAME on this landord for allowing such conditions!

    And thank you, Grapevine, for caring enough about the residents of your city to take action on these hideous violations!

    • kcsx

      Oh, and how would you know that they never got permits? Did you ask them? I don’t think you have any idea what you’re talking about on this point.

      Also, if you don’t live in the mobile home park then you aren’t in a position to issue any judgments on the living conditions.

      Also, if YOU paid attention to the story, you’d have heard the maintenance manager say he was told the structures were going to have to come down no matter what.

      And for my last point, these weren’t just built next to someone’s little suburban neighborhood, they were here before any other houses in the area were built.

      Nice try though.

  • kcsx

    The city of Grapevine has been after this mobile home park for years. To be frank, I sincerely doubt that a complaint was ever filed, or that the city is concerned with safety. If they were concerned with safety then why after nearly thirty years are the residents just now hearing about it? Following that logic would seem to imply that for three decades the city didn’t care about them. I smell a rat.

    It’s strange to hear them backpedaling now and claiming that they will work with the residents to bring their add-ons up to code after they were flat-out told the structures had to come down, period. Either they’re lying or no one they send to speak to the residents has any idea what they’re talking about. I don’t know which is worse. Also, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they issued that statement only after the media got involved.

    I think it is blatantly transparent here what’s really going on. It’s already been brought up several times in the comments but I feel it deserves to be repeated: This is about other people in the area concerned about their property values, this is about the city being concerned about its image, this is about following a bunch of pointless bureaucracy to the letter no matter how it may adversely affect the residents, this is about people who have the money and resources to manipulate the system knocking around the little guy.

    If this goes the way city officials and certain interested parties would like it to, it will be the first domino to be tipped over, and the mobile home park will be crawling with fault-finding inspectors just itching to please whoever initiated this fiasco.

  • dfwproud

    All you have to do is call the health department at the city to find out if there is a permit. And you don’t have to live there to be concerned with the living conditions. Living near it or driving by it tells you everything you need to know that people shouldn’t have to live like this.

    There are lean-to’s that are falling apart, and rooms with roofs caving in, and trailers that are deteriorating, that have the outside peeling off, and broken windows. It is just awful, and it needs to be fixed. I don’t have any hope for it to go away, whether you acuse me of that or not. I’ve lived near it for a long time, and have tolerated it. It just needs to be decent for these people that live here, and around here and it is definately not.

    No need to be hostile, peace.

    • kcsx

      So you personally called the health department and made inquiries as to the inspection status of each add-on in question? You certainly seem to care enough to complain about the ‘eyesore’, as you so colorfully put it, but I don’t think you care enough to make a bunch of lengthy phone calls on the matter. Color me skeptical.

      I was not being hostile, I was simply pointing out the logical flaws in your argument. It could be that it came across as aggressive because there were so many flaws in your argument, but that’s beside the point I guess.

      You can go to any neighborhood and make a big list of small things like cracked windows and damaged siding and make it sound much, much worse than it really is. It’s all in the spin, and people like you are spinning that pretty hard. Makes me wonder what you have to gain from it, considering you obviously don’t live in the mobile home park in question.

  • dfwproud

    Oh, and one last thing, not to keep rattling on. I don’t know where the trailer is in the story about the bedroom, but I agree that if the inspector is focusing on that room, they are looking in the wrong place. That looks like a nice room. But I promise you, that is not normal for this trailer park. There are much worse places than that.

  • kpw

    I have lived here in this Park for 26 years, raised 2 well rounded children. I love my neighbors and my home. We are like a family here, if you hurt one you hurt us all.
    The owner of this Park is one of the most down to earth, caring and compassionate people I have ever met. You should not talk about something or someone when your on the outside looking in. I feel like the city just wants the land to match the other side of the street, (which came way after we were here)


    So if any of these people or God forbid some children were to die in one of these illegally built structures because they have not been permitted or inspected to see if they are safe, everybody is OK with that!

    • kcsx

      No one has, and no one will. Since the structures were built before any of the codes came into effect they are exempt from them. Try doing your research before making an overly theatrical appeal to people’s fears.

  • Pennsylvania dude

    I lived in Trailwood Mobile Estates for 14 years after moving to Grapevine. When I got here in 85 – I had nothing but a car, a wife and three daughters. This trailer park allowed me to move into a trailer here and find a job, and worked with me to get myself established in Grapevine. I could not, repeat, COULD NOT have made it in Grapevine without these Grapevine residents allowing me to move into a mobile home there. I tried to find apartments and other housing in Grapevine when I moved here, but this was the only one who would take my word that I would work hard, and pay my bills. I have since moved from the park and have a home and a business I run from this home. I would never have gotten this far without great Grapevine residents like those of Trailwood, many of whom I still visit to this day! I have to say that I am saddened by the way Grapevine residents have changed over the years. We used to be decent, caring, loving, helpful, and hard working people, not as concerned about a dollar as we were about our fellow man! Where did we go man? What has happened to us? How did we get this far off base? How does codes and permits and rules and regulations and taxes, help anyone in this once fine city? I think we should be honorable people FIRST, and the rest will automatically take care of itself! Grandfather this stuff in, since it was already there, when the news broke about it. Problem solved! Then if you want permits for things from there on out its easy. Notify everyone through the parks officials that ALL NEW CONSTRUCTION must be permitted and inspected. Nuff said?

  • L. C. Squiers

    My Wife and I have lived in Trailwood now for 21 years. We own our home. I can sssure readers that this park is NOT littered with “cobbled-together” structures. Most additions, car ports, etc. of which I am aware, including my own, were professionally and properly built.

    My thanks to “Pennsylvania Dude” for his absolutely correct comments. YES, in direct contradiction to the misinformation code enforcement “communicated”, according to the city code, “any lawfully occupied structure standing at the time of the amended code (2006) shall be allowed to remain, unchanged.”

    Whether the structure was EVER approved is immaterial. AND, building permits CANNOT be filed for existing structures, as code enforcement has wrongly directed. Building permits are ONLY issued for new construction, and modifications to existing structures, which THEN would have meet current code.

    The bullying actions being used on the management and residents of Trailwood are discriminatory and reprehensible. Furthermore, this groundless attack on elderly residents homes is causing stress-related health issues. Should one of the victims end up hospitalized, or tragically pass away as a result of this disgraceful action, those responsible will have a lot more legal issues to concern themselves with than building permits. As voiced by many respondents here, this is TRULYdisgraceful.

    Thanks also to Trailwood management for their efforts to maintain a decent, pleasant and affordable place to live. And I very much appreciate their monumental restraint and patience in dealing with city code enforcement.

    Thank you too, Ms. Jane Slater for your investigative reporting. Investigative reporters are often our only avenue to get the little guy’s side of a situation heard, and it is appreciated. Hopefully a compassionate attorney advocating for the elderly, and for civil rights was watching!

    Hopefully, once code enforcement is made aware of the fact that existing structures are exempt from this malicious sort of attack, the whole business will simply end. If not, Ms. Slater will surely have much more news to report on our behalf.

    • kcsx

      This man knows what he’s talking about.

  • Jo Lynn Cain

    We moved to Grapevine in 1977. We lived in a mobile home at Trailwood Mobile Home Park until 1980, when we bought a house in Saginaw, Tx. The people who lived there were some of the nicest people I have ever met. The park was well maintained and I never saw any DEPLORABLE living conditions or any unsafe condtion while there Everyone looked out for everyone else. In 2005 my husband retired and we were living in Grand Prairie in a $175,000.00 house. We sold it before his retirement date and guess what? We moved back to Grapevine into a moble home at Trailwood Mobile Home Park! The park was still well maintained, safe, and the people were still friendly and outgoing. I still didn’t notice any DEPLORABLE living conditions.

    It sounds to me like some developer wants the property to build on it and is doing everything he can to get the property. I’ve always heard the Grandfather Clause exempts property from codes enacted before they took effect. I hope the city wakes up and realizes people are more important then other peoples greed and that they are messing with peoples homes even if they are only mobile homes after all, a mans home is his castle, no matter what it is

  • Denman Cain

    I agree with the comments listed above. In addition, the people that live there are tax payers as well as the people down the road. They should be not forced to move or change their property so some developer can profit. I have never noticed any additions that are falling down or poorly constructed. It is my understanding the trailer park was there first. If the other people around it think it is not up to their standards, then they shouldn’t have moved there.


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