HAMPTON CO., SC (WTOC) - The town of Hampton is preparing for its next big investment: a solar panel farm that will be used to help the waste management facility.
Here's the catch. The property that will be used is currently occupied by about a dozen families living in mobile homes, so before the town can break ground, those residents will have to be relocated. It's been an emotional ordeal for both the town and residents. It's a situation where both are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The town is forced with the challenge of essentially evicting residents off a property they just purchased. Those residents are now scrambling to find a new place to call home after they purchased these homes last year through a different tax sale.
"Help us...help us. We're not begging y'all for nothing. The same way y'all kicked out this $16,000 to purchase this land, kick out some dollars and help us."
Lacreshia Walker has been living at the L and L Mobile Home Park for the past three years, but less than three months ago, she was told she had to leave.
"The Knapsinger family used to own this mobile home park and for whatever reason, they moved away and didn't take care of the property. When the town purchased the property, the first step in the process in the state law requirements is to provide a notice to vacate the premises," said Robert Poston, Building Inspector, Town of Hampton.
Residents were given 30 days to move out, but that came with some problems.
"You have to purchase land, you have to purchase a well, you have to make sure the grounds right so you can get a permit. I can't go to the bank and say 'boom I'm withdrawing this.' I can't throw out a credit card. I don't have it like that...so we went ahead and said we wouldn't enforce anything until after 60 days had passed," Walker said.
The town gave residents an extra 30 days, but even with the extension, options for relocation are slim to none.
"The only option for me right now is I have to start all over. Trying to get a mobile home, it's like paying money. You're going to have to have rent, lights, water, food. It's like starting all over," Walker said.
The extension ran out last Tuesday, so this Tuesday night, town council will decide if the next step is to go to the town attorney to formally serve eviction notices.
One reason residents are having problems moving their mobile home is that in order to get a permit at a new lot, the home can not be more than 10 years old. Most of the mobile homes in question were built in the 80s.