HARTSHORNE, Okla. -- Things are looking up for a Hartshorne veteran who was told he had to leave his home.
2 Works for You reporter Travis Guillory met William Smith two weeks ago when he got an eviction notice from the City of Hartshorne because of an ordinance the city council recently passed.
The ordinance says that it is no longer legal to live in a travel trailer, camper, or RV within city limits even if you own the land, which Smith has done for the last eight years. He was an engineer in the navy who constantly moved around in what he calls home - a place he hoped to retire in.
The original story 2 Works for You aired was posted online and was shared more than 8,000 times across the country and viewed nearly 400,000 times.
Hartshorne City Hall became inundated with calls, prompting the city clerk to reach out to Smith and set up a meeting with the mayor.
Mayor Joy Cline said, “Basically, we just sat down and I assured him that I just wanted to know about his situation.”
Cline said Smith provided the all of the paperwork for his property, including documents from the Pittsburg County Assessor who assessed the property as a single-family residence and was filed as a homestead exemption.
Cline said, “For every year thereafter, he has been paying taxes on the property and his living dwelling.” After speaking with several other council members, the mayor came to a conclusion – Smith should be grandfathered in.
Now, the council has to vote on this next month. However, if they shut it down, Smith has a backup plan thanks to a local lumber yard.
He said, “They offered now, if this doesn’t work out, to come in free of charge and make a little apartment in the back of the garage, including providing some appliances.”
Smith attributes the strides made in his honor to the news coverage and social media sharing, saying, “It not only helped it; I think it’s the major factor . . . You doing all this and then coming back. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done.”
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