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Candidate: Beef Up Manufactured Home Community Inspections

May 17th, 2017

Oak Hollow Community. Credit: San Antonio Express.

In San Antonio, Texas, District 8 councilman and mayoral hopeful Ron Nirenberg is making a push to change the municipal code.

According to My San Antonio, Nirenberg, fresh off an endorsement from former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, is looking to beef up the city’s inspections of manufactured home communities, and the City Council Neighborhoods and Livability Committee approved his proposal earlier this week.

The city will now conduct public meetings with various stakeholders, to determine exactly how to amend the municipal code that regulates communities.

Additional changes could include enabling the city to levy higher fines or pursue civil penalties against mobile home park [sic] owners who repeatedly violate the code,” said Michael Shannon, the city’s interim director of development services.

Currently, the city can only press criminal charges against community owners.

This is an effort to address what I think is a gap in policy, to make sure we have some proactive inspections,” said Nirenberg.


Cleanup at Oak Hollow. Credit: San Antonio Current.

Nirenberg says that he proposed the measure after the city ordered the relocation of families in the Oak Hollow Mobile Home Park, which is in his district, of overflowing septic tanks and other poor conditions. The Daily Business News originally covered that story here.


Sewage Line at Oak Hollow. Credit: KABB.

In this case, Joe Mangione, owner of Oak Hollow Mobile Home Park, has been served a cease and desist order by the city. The order tells him to stop lying to his “tenants.”

I’ve lived there four years, and then my sisters lived there for at least 15 years before that. It’s always smelled like this, I just never knew where it came from,” said one of the residents.

I mostly keep [my daughters] indoors now.

Upon investigation, the city found raw sewage leaking from decrepit septic tanks and directly into the park’s soil, including one leak directly underneath a tenant’s home. The resident was forced to avoid one of the rooms due to the smell.

The city determined that 12 of the homes were in such bad shape that the health department was legally bound to alert those living in Oak Hollow that they would need to move out of their home and into hotel rooms, paid for by the city, until the landlord addressed the problem.

Current law states that manufactured home communities must register with the San Antonio Department of Heath and are subject to inspection, but Nirenberg says that sites are not routinely inspected, and often only go to communities after receiving a complaint.


Julian Castro and Ron Nirenberg take a selfie. Credit: My San Antonio.

My concern was that we prevent the kind of issue we saw at Oak Hollow,” said Nirenberg.

We know if mobile home parks [sic] fly under the radar, there’s really no guarantee of that.”

Nirenberg says his hope is that increasing inspections are part of a larger package of reforms to the city code.

His goal is to establish communications and assistant protocols in the event another Oak Hollow situation arises.

In the case of Oak Hollow, there was an extended displacement, where the residents were placed in hotels, and there was only a short period of assistance for them to do so,” said Nirenberg.

According to Deputy City Attorney Joe Nino, the city filed a suit against Oak Hollow in December and is trying to work out a settlement.

A for sale sign is posted on the property,” said Nino.


The Julian Castro Effect 


Credit: Bloomberg.

In December 2015, Castro praised the manufactured home industry, saying in part “a good home is a powerful platform to spark progress in people’s lives. It connects families to the communities that surround them, and it lays the foundation for their health, their happiness and their future success.

That’s why we call HUD, ‘The Department of Opportunity.’ And that’s the importance of the work we do together.

The United States faces an affordable housing crisis. And manufactured homes serve as a vital solution for folks of modest means, particularly in rural areas.”

The full commentary from Castro is linked here. ##


(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)



RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.


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