After a short debate, Challis City Council members denied a conditional use request to allow a single-wide trailer within city limits at a public hearing Sept. 10.
Karen Yates went to the council at their August meeting with a request to place a trailer on a 15-feet-wide stretch of property she owns on 1020 Valley Road, zoned residential B. Mayor Mike Barrett explained to her in order for that to happen, the public would need an opportunity to comment on the proposed trailer first. This is because after the city revamped its zoning laws in 2009, Barrett said no new trailers are allowed in city limits without first giving Challis residents a chance to debate on the conditional use permit.
“This is a landowner issue,” Challis resident Clint Reece said in opposition to the trailer. “I don’t see why the city is involved.”
Reece wrote a letter in advance to attending the hearing that detailed his problems with the proposed trailer. “I didn’t move here to live in a trailer park,” Barrett read from Reece’s letter. “We are talking about changing the complexion of this town.” Reece was one of several residents who wrote letters of opposition to Yate’s request.
The city government is involved, Yates said speaking as the only person in favor of the permit, because at one point there was a trailer on the spot in question with a water/sewer hook up. The city’s policy is that if a trailer existed on a property before 2009, it gets grandfathered in and is allowed to stay.
“The old one was removed because it was a skanky, old trailer and it was removed with the idea of upgrading it,” Challis resident Karla Young said, who signed in as neutral but spoke on behalf of Yates.
Barrett acknowledged there was a trailer on the property at one point, but because replacing it would constitute bringing in a new trailer, the grandfather status wouldn’t apply.
Yates then asked if it would be possible to build a tiny home on the sliver of property. Just as long as she has something permanent by winter, Yates said. Her property manager at the triplex on Valley Road and his family live in the fifth-wheel trailer currently parked on the spot. Yates said she would like to put they up in something that can keep warmth for when the temperature drops.
Barrett replied city council members have yet to answer the tiny-home question. Challis currently has no zoning designation for structures classified as tiny homes, which are houses that are generally less than 400 square feet, so Barrett said building one wouldn’t be possible.
Once the debate closed, council members took a moment to think before they voted. All agreeing that allowing one trailer could set an unsatisfactory precedent, council members unanimously voted no to Yate’s request.