Residents Forced To Change Way To Heat Homes

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FOSTER TOWNSHIP -- Some people who live in a mobile home park in Luzerne County are angry and frustrated. They say they have to put up cash, and if they don't, they could be evicted.

The controversy centers at the Maple Lane Estates mobile home park near Freeland and the heating fuel tanks connected to homes.

Residents have until the end of the year to make major changes to the tanks or get rid of them altogether.

Resident Frances McSpedon fears anyone missing the deadline faces possible eviction.

"I think it stinks because when we moved in here, they may own the land but when we moved in here, I mean all of us, we did not give up our right to choose how we heat our homes." McSpedon said.

Property Management Incorporated manages the park. Company officials fear the tanks will leak, costing homeowners thousands of dollars to clean up.  So residents have to buy double-walled tanks or a system to capture a spill.

The cost is about $2,000. The other alternative is to spend about $1,600 and convert to propane or electric heat.

McSpedon said the situation is unfair.

"I have to save money to do this on something they want, other than what I need!"

Maple Lane Estates resident Nancy Martin said the cost of the conversion cuts into her retirement.

"I had to get a job; I couldn't take the money from the $2,000 I was getting from the Post Office."

There is quite a bit of room for expansion at Maple Lane Estates. According to the paperwork sent to the residents, anybody new moving in would have to use either electricity or propane to heat their homes, otherwise they could not move in.

Not everybody disagrees with the switch. Angelo Michelli said he now has propane to heat his home.

"You can only go with the rules. I can see their point. Kerosene is unhealthy to be in the well water, drinking water."

A P.M.I spokesperson says she knows the heating change is making some residents angry but her company wants to be environmentally proactive.