Hardship request tabled, Commission torn

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By Tia Lynn Ivey, Managing Editor

A hardship request has the Morgan County Board of Commissioner torn. 

The BOC tabled a hardship request from Terry Richards, who is currently living in an RV on his ill father’s 100-acre Rutledge property to help take care of him.

To Richard’s surprise, his temporary RV home violates a county ordinance which only allows a person to live in an RV 15 days out of a 60-day period. 

Richards bought the $15,000 RV and placed it on the property a year ago in order to look after his father, who has been diagnosed with Stage 2 Dementia. 

“Who would have known a person who owns his 100-acre property would need permission to put an RV on it?” 

Richards asked the BOC on Tuesday, Jan. 7.  “My father has lived there for over 30 years, he owns the property, and he’s worked the property hard. We are asking that you let us leave the RV, so I can help take care of him.”

County Planner Chuck Jarrell recommended that the BOC uphold the ordinance and deny the hardship request, suggesting Richards either move into his father’s house on the property or build another house or accessory dwelling on the property.  

Richard maintained that he is unable to move into a house because it is a two-bedroom home and his father needs a live-in caregiver as well. 

“And that would be a considerable cost to him though to build anything out there,” said Commissioner Philipp von Hanstein. 

County Planner Tara Cooner pointed out that the county has a precedent to make an exception when there is a health issue involved. 

Commissioner Ben Riden, who represents Richards’ district, was inclined to approve the living situation for a year, on the condition that the RV meets all health department codes. Riden made a motion to approve the hardship request, but the motion died when none of the other commissioners seconded the motion. 

The BOC then voted to table the request after Commissioner Andy Ainslie suggested Richards work with Jarrell to prove all the electrical, sewage, and health department codes are in order. 

The BOC will revisit the request at the next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

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