Is there any help through the state impact fee for residents of a mobile home park community who are being forced to relocate?
State Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, thinks it's an issue worth exploring.
"The question is: Is it part of an impact? And are there resources to help people?" he asked.
Riverdale Mobile Home Park residents were notified earlier this year that they must relocate as of Thursday.
Aqua PVR LLC, which purchased the land in Piatt Township where the trailer park is, plans to put in a water withdrawal facility to support gas drilling activities.
Mirabito said the impact fee bill passed by the state Legislature to compensate local governments affected by gas drilling just might cover some of the residents who must move their homes.
"You could make an argument that it is an impact of gas drilling as a result of becoming a water withdrawal site," he said.
Mirabito's 83rd District does not include residents of the trailer park, and he has not heard from anyone living there.
But he said he's sympathetic to their plight.
"This is one of those situations where it's very difficult for people living there," he said. "There has, believe it or not, been difficulties for the owner, too. Sometimes, situations like this require us to find some sort of balance. Balancing property rights with someone who has invested a lot of time there and may not have the economic means to move."
Mirabito and state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, voted in favor of legislation passed by the House earlier this month that requires manufactured home community owners to provide adequate notification and offer compensation to tenants when a sale to a developer occurs.
The bill will require notification to tenants within 60 days when the community is sold and slated for development for another use.
In addition, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency must be notified and relocation funds provided to tenants.
Both lawmakers have noted the legislation comes too late to help the Riverdale tenants.
Everett has indicated he has been working with the residents, some of whom have long since moved, for quite some time.
Many of them, he noted, were directed to appropriate state agencies and philanthropic organizations.
"In addition, I have personally been in touch with Aqua America from its president and on down urging the company to treat the residents of the park fairly and with compassion," he said. "Recently, I have also been in contact with a local attorney who is representing the remaining park residents and have offered my support if it would help with specific situations. In addition, I took this unfortunate situation at Riverdale as an opportunity to push legislation through the House that addresses many of the issues experienced by Riverdale residents for park residents in the future."
State Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, could not be reached for comment for this story.