November ballots deciding future of mobile homes near Fairchild AFB



Posted on October 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 15 at 9:01 PM

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.--Voters in Spokane County will decide in November if they want to pay to move mobile homes away from Fairchild Air Force Bas.
Supporters said it would make Fairchild more appealing for future contracts.Yet, some of the people living in the area said their homes are not threatening the future of Fairchild. They said they can not afford to move anywhere else.
The mobile homes in Airway Heights make up the 190 units. Spokane County leaders said the homes need to be removed. Leaders said the homes are in a potential crash zone and the U.S. military leaders do not like seeing residential areas so close to bases.
"We want to be in a position where we have no encroachments on that base so that we can protect that base from the potential of a future closure,” said Al French, Spokane County Commissioner.
The proposal would cost $18 million and last up to nine years. County leaders estimated the average homeowner of a $200,000 home would pay $13 a year.
The people who live in the mobile homes said they have been there for decades and seen few crashes. They are not convinced it is a serious threat.
"If they did, the military would do something immediately, it wouldn't be up to the voters,” said Esther Rhoads, Mobile Home Owner.
The homes are located in an area three miles east of Fairchild. Residents do not understand why removing the homes and replacing the area with a commercial or industrial zone would be any safer.
County leaders said the military is specific about having homes in the area.
"They clearly have identified this as encroachment of the base,” said French.
Most residents rent the mobile homes according to the County records. Leaders are working with non-profits to provide a new place for them to live.
County leaders also said it will buy and move some of the movie homes in the area.
Some residents own their own home. They said they can not move because their homes are too old. They stressed that they will not get enough money to move and have their current lifestyle anywhere else.
"If I get a price that will let me have everything I have now, at another location, that's OK,” said Rhoads.
Voters must turn in their ballots on November 5.