Talent waives permit fees for some

TALENT — Individuals who want trailers temporarily moved onto their property to provide housing for caregivers will get a break on permit fees if their income is 200 percent or less of federal poverty guidelines.

"I think it's pretty good," said 92-year-old Paul Creel, who will be the first beneficiary of the new city regulation.

The City Council last week approved a resolution that would waive the entire $600 conditional use permit fee for those at 100 percent or less of the guidelines. Those between 100 and 200 percent of the poverty line would have the fee prorated.

"A little over a year ago I fell and broke my leg," said Creel. "I have trouble getting around and walking and keeping things up. With a little help I'll be able to stay in my home instead of selling and moving out. Sometimes older people need a little extra help." Paulette Hendrickson, Creel's daughter, had asked the city to waive the fee so that she and her husband, Don, could move a 36-foot-long fifth-wheel onto property at 412 Creel Road. Creel has lived there since 1950.

Hendrickson's request was included under the new regulations, a provision made by the council in May when they first learned about the issue. In research he presented to the council last week, City Planner Mark Knox said that Creel's income would allow a waiver of the fee.

The city already allows the temporary siting of trailers to assist a person who is infirm. The new resolution calls for the city manager to administer the fee waiver requests.

"What will probably happen is that Mark (Knox) will receive the application and make a recommendation," said City Manager Jay Henry. "The final decision will be mine."

Requests for the temporary location permits are not common. They are granted for one year at a time, but can be renewed without a fee charge with proof of continuing need.

"There's probably about a half-dozen; there's not very many," said Knox. "It's only for people with those conditions who need assistance."

The resolution includes a definition of annual net income, which is determined after deductions for health insurance, medical insurance co-payments, property taxes, assisted living expenses and any Medicare expenses. The policy also authorizes the city manager to request income and expense information to make the determination.

Under 2010 federal guidelines, the poverty level is set at $10,830 for a single person and $14,570 for two people.

Paulette Hendrickson submitted a completed form verifying the need for a caregiver for her father, the same form that is used by Jackson County when it grants similar exceptions. The form requires a doctor's signature.

A May 11 Mail Tribune story detailed the situation of a rural Central Point woman who was told by the county that she must get a permit and make upgrades or remove a trailer used by her son who serves as her caregiver.

Bonnie Orton, 75, estimated the permit would cost $1,500 and another $4,500 would need to be spent for well and septic certifications and separate electrical service. County officials said the rule is intended to ensure people are living in safe conditions and are not overtaxing septic systems or electrical systems.

Creel's property already has a concrete pad and hookups for sewer, water and electric that he installed when he previously owned a trailer.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

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