Caboose chef gets hearing, but not answer on home

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 9/24/21

KT Caboose cafe proprietor Jon Koresko didn’t make much headway on a request regarding his living quarters during a Sept. 15 meeting with the Marthasville Board of Aldermen.

Koresko, who …

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Caboose chef gets hearing, but not answer on home

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KT Caboose cafe proprietor Jon Koresko didn’t make much headway on a request regarding his living quarters during a Sept. 15 meeting with the Marthasville Board of Aldermen.

Koresko, who moved to Marthasville in the spring in order to take over the cafe, is pushing for the city to allow his live-in camper to be kept on the 1.6-acre cafe property. The caboose-turned-cafe is located along the KT trail, at a site where tent camping is already allowed. Koresko leases the property.

Currently, Koresko said he is forced to rent space for his camper outside the city because of an ordinance prohibiting the parking of mobile homes outside of designated areas.

After getting a non-committal response from aldermen in August, Koresko returned last week to restate his belief that the city’s ordinance shouldn’t apply to his camper because it is a towed vehicle. He said other state and federal regulatory agencies draw a clear distinction between pre-manufactured homes (aka ‘mobile homes’) and vehicles such as RVs and trailers.

In fact, that same distinction is present in another section of Marthasville ordinance governing land use in the flood plain, Koresko observed.

“Not that I’m trying to cause trouble here, I’m just trying to make a distinction, because if the code ... wasn’t intended to stop camping trailers, I think I should be able to put it (at the cafe property),” Koresko told the aldermen. “I don’t want to be argumentative and I’ll listen to what you all say, but I just want to be treated fairly and I don’t think that code applies to me.”

Koresko didn’t get a clear yes or no answer from the aldermen on Sept. 15.

“We’ve got to thoroughly review everything, and we appreciate you bringing it to our attention,” Alderman Nick Lange told Koresko. “I sympathize with you and understand. We just have to make sure we’re adhering to what we have in our code. The biggest thing ... is that we don’t want to make a precedent. We don’t want this to be something that will occur with every property owner in town.”

Lange said the board will have City Attorney Mark Piontek review how the city code applies to camper vehicles, or whether the board could allow for a variance to its code to meet Koresko’s request.

Mayor David Lange said that his interpretation of city ordinance remains unchanged from when Koresko first moved to the area. Regardless of how other agencies define mobile homes, the mayor said Marthasville’s ordinance is intentionally broad to include both manufactured homes and recreational vehicles.

“The reason we wrote it that way is to prevent people from plopping down RVs or campers like you’re wanting to do,” the mayor told Koresko. “We’re not discriminating against mobile homes. You can still have mobile homes in Marthasville. But they have to go in a mobile home park, you can’t just put them down anywhere in town.”

The mayor added that he doesn’t know of any other business owners in town who are seeking to place an RV to live outside their business.

Koresko replied that he doesn’t know any other business owners who work 14 hours a day, six days a week, while adopting the simplified living conditions that he has.

“I’m a little bit unusual,” he said.

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