A conflict in Morehead has made national news by hitting The New York Times this week.
North Fork Mobile Home Park residents were informed in March they’d need to move out by April 30 because the landlord was selling to a Lexington-area developer, who has plans similar to what his family implemented in the form of the Hamburg Pavilion in Lexington.
While it’s tempting to pick a side in any altercation — many unattached to the situation choose the underdog — we won’t look at the residents, property owner, the city or the developer as much we will we focus on the commonwealth of Kentucky for this particular editorial.
By law, none of the parties involved are required to supply residents with advance notice of their displacement. Some states mandate six months. In Massachusetts, as The Times reported, the period is two years.
Kentucky needs a law protecting citizens in the event of a situation like this.
As The Times reported verbatim, few in North Fork said they were opposed to the development in principle. What infuriated them was that a developer, a property owner and their own government representatives had worked together for months or perhaps years on a project that would throw their lives into disarray and nobody had reached out to them.
Their consternation is legitimate. Their anger makes sense. They deserve better.
But can one truly fault the landlord, Joanne Fraley for selling the property? That’s her personal choice. As for giving notice, she was concerned about jeopardizing any potential deal in the time of COVID-19. Understandable.
Can one fault Patrick Madden, the developer? He apparently sees great potential in this property. The city of Morehead evidently envisions the same, strictly speaking business-wise.
While it can be argued that the landlord, the developer and the city could have handled the situation with much more care and compassion for the residents, the point of this particular piece is Kentucky needs a law in place to protect residents from going through this type of tribulation.