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Zoning Changes Could Affect Manufactured Housing

March 1st, 2017 Comments off
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A manufactured home community in Michigan. Credit: MHProNews.

The Washington County, Maryland Board of Commissioners is holding a public hearing today regarding several proposed changes to the county’s zoning ordinance, including ones that affect manufactured homes.

According to the Herald-Mail Media, zoning amendments are proposed to the 1973 ordinance from time to time due to changing times and technology.

Current law states a mobile home [sic] can only be replaced with one that fits on the existing foundation, which does not allow for expansions to double-wides [sic],said Chief Planner Jill Baker.

The proposed change would create some flexibility, allowing for such replacements as long as setback requirements are met.

Existing manufactured homes with a smaller setback would be grandfathered in, but must meet their existing property setback with replacement homes.

The proposed amendments would also disallow accessory structures such as sheds or pools, in-ground or above ground, in front yards.

Some residents voiced concerns about such items in front yards, and they create problems for potential road widening and highway right of way projects, according to county documents on the matter.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, a number of zoning related stories have been in the news lately, including a case in Wilmington, North Carolina, where city leaders are moving forward with a plan to rezone parts of an area that includes the Melrose Mobile Home Park, where residents will be required to move.

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Rhonda Pythress. Credit: TWC News.

It is all about money. At Wrightsville Beach they want this property so they can zone it so they can build more rich condos here,” said resident Rhonda Poythress.

Also of note is the case of the Boulder City Mobile Home Park in Boulder City, Nevada, where the area around the community was re-zoned to a multi-home residential area.

Those who commented on the matter didn’t pull any punches.

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Boulder City Mobile Home Park. Credit: KTNV

I like the residential idea because it would not be a trailer park [sic] anymore,” said councilman Cam Walker.

Developer and board member Randy Schams, who asked for the rezoning, echoed Walker’s sentiment.

I have been building here for 20-plus years and I have never heard one positive thing about that trailer park [sic],” said Schams.

I am just trying to make it more appealing and with affordable housing.##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Residents Forced to Move Due to Rezoning

November 8th, 2016 Comments off
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Melrose Mobile Home Park. Credit: TWC News.

Residents of the Melrose Mobile Home Park will have to move.

According to TWC News, city leaders in Wilmington, North Carolina are moving forward with a plan to rezone parts of Wrightsville Avenue.

Officials said the zoning became necessary due to continuous population growth. The city plans to designate the site mixed-use, with both business and residential units.

City officials told TWC News they are working to increase access to affordable housing in Wilmington, but many residents are concerned.

It is all about money. At Wrightsville Beach they want this property so they can zone it so they can build more rich condos here,” said park resident Rhonda Poythress.

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Rhonda Poythress. Credit: TWC News.

But it is just putting so many people out. Not to mention the elderly people who can’t get out to look for a place or pack their stuff up and move it. Some of them don’t even have family here; that’s what’s really breaking my heart.

North Carolina state law only requires residents to be given 180 days notice to vacate a community. While some states require relocation assistance for displaced residents, North Carolina has no such provision.

Residents have been given until the end of March to vacate the property.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of rezoning cases recently, including Boulder City, Nevada and Aurora, Colorado.

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Melrose Mobile Home Park. Credit: TWC News.

The MH Industry Speaks 

Jim Ayotte, executive director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA), speaking about a similar case told MHProNewsA community owner shouldn’t be compelled to close a community without regard for homeowners.jimayottecreditmhpronewsusersrcdesktoppaulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews

Ayotte explained some of the various stress points that are often at play, including local governments that have limited ability in their budgets to provide affordable housing.  Yet, local governments often try to impose measures that force property owners to act contrary to their property rights.

This is unfair to the private sector and quite frankly, should be unconstitutional,” Ayotte said.

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Jay Hamilton.

As MH association directors, we support a property owner’s rights to buy, sell and make a profit at any time,Jay Hamilton, of the George Manufactured Housing Association told MHProNews.

What we do hope for is that the MH Community owner does it ethically, which is usually the case.

The community owner should help minimize the impact by working with local government and social service agencies to identify alternative housing options,” Ayotte said, adding that he has seen a number of examples of community closures where owners, residents and local officials worked successfully together. Ayotte’s full comments about the matter are linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

City Council Approves Rezoning of Manufactured Home Community

October 29th, 2016 Comments off
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Boulder City Mobile Home Park. Credit: KTNV

The Boulder City, Nevada City Council has unanimously approved the request of developer Randy Schams to rezone 7.33 acres of land he owns in the city to a multi-home residential area.

A number of regular Daily Business News readers may recognize Schams’ name, as part of our coverage on the Boulder City Planning Commission vote on the issue last month.

Schams purchased the property, known as the Boulder City Mobile Home Park. out of bankruptcy last November, and had been working to clean up the community, with a plan to turn it into 19 single story townhomes.

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Boulder City Planning Commission, Randy Schams 2nd from left. Credit: Boulder City Beat

The planning commission unanimously approved the request on September 21st, setting the stage for a city council decision.

Given the location of the property, Brok Armantrout, director of community development and other community members felt that the land should have a commercial designation.

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Brok Armantrout. Credit: bcnv.org.

We have asked the developer to change the designation to commercial, but he felt that a commercial property was not a viable option with the Interstate 11 coming,” said Armantrout.

According to the Boulder City Review, Schams insisted that “the mobile home park [sic] be rezoned as a residential area and not a commercial area” despite the pleas.

I didn’t have an issue here until recently because I was happy that the park [sic] was getting cleaned up,” said Boulder City resident Kevin Tibbs.

But after a lot of thought I think the only reasonable designation for the land is commercial just like everywhere else along the highway. Residential does not belong on this highway; we know that because of the condition of the park [sic] when the owner bought it. Please urge the developer to change his residential designation.

The city had a plan to make the area commercial and now they are just throwing it out to appease one person,” said resident Tracy Folda.

The city council and the planning commission disagreed, citing that the area has been a manufactured home community since the late 1950s.

Why is the best use of this land commercial if it has never been commercial?” Councilman Duncan McCoy asked.

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Duncan McCoy. Credit: bcnv.org

I have no problem with this project; people have been griping about the quality of homes in that area for 28 years and I am not persuaded we need the area for commercial lots when not all of our current lots are filled.

With the new Interstate 11 bypass coming to the area, planning commission member Glenn Leavitt and councilwoman Peggy Leavitt agreed that a residential designation was acceptable, as some business will likely shut down once the bypass is complete.

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Peggy Leavitt. Credit: bcnv.org.

We can ignore the elephant in the room or go for it head on, but the hard truth is that some businesses will fail when the bypass shows up,” commissioner Leavitt said. “We agreed with a residential designation because people were demanding more affordable housing and because commercial businesses that move in there could fail.

We have taken a lot of heat because there is not enough affordable housing in the city and this appeals to me because it is affordable housing,” councilwoman Leavitt said.

One councilman had a slightly different take.

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Cam Walker. Credit: bcnv.org.

I like the residential idea because it would not be a trailer park [sic] anymore,” said councilman Cam Walker.

Randy Schams echoed Walker’s sentiment.

I have been building here for 20-plus years and I have never heard one positive thing about that trailer park [sic],” said Schams. “I am just trying to make it more appealing and with affordable housing.

The council expressed issues surrounding limited access to and from the property, but did not take any action.

According to the Boulder City Review, with the rezoning designation approved, residents of the community will be ordered to leave by a designated date given by the developer. ##

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(Editor’s Note: while some believe that manufactured home communities are havens of crime, the story linked here has a downloadable report, authored by a university professor, that demonstrates the contrary is true).

(Image Credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Boulder City Planning Commission Approves Rezoning Of Mobile Home Park

September 30th, 2016 Comments off
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Boulder City Mobile Home Park. Credit: KTNV

Plans to transform what the Boulder City Review called a “blighted mobile home park” (sic) into townhouses came before the city’s planning commission.

The plan to transition the Boulder City Mobile Home Park into a townhome community were unanimously approved by the town’s commission on September 21st, with Chairman Jim Giannosa excusing himself due to a conflict of interest.

I’m glad to see it cleaned up and would like to see residential [zoning], Jan Rowe, who lives across the street from the community. “Going residential would be very beneficial to the city,she said.

The community is one four properties with manufactured homes in that general vicinity.

Randy Schams, president of RPS Homes, purchased the property out of bankruptcy in November. His plan is to build affordable residences. According to KTNV News, Schams also sits on the Planning Commission.

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Boulder City Planning Commission, Randy Schams 2nd from left. Credit: Boulder City Beat

Jackie Schams, Randy’s daughter and the manager of the community, said they envision building 19 single-story townhomes, with four units per building.

Currently, the Boulder City Mobile Home Park has allotments for 91 residential manufactured homes. Since taking ownership of the property, the Schams have been focused on cleaning up the location, which was affected by crime and drug issues.

Crime and MHCs?

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Todd Lamb, Lamb Investments.

Sure, there is more crime in certain demographics, certain neighborhoods, certain sides of towns, etc.,” said Todd Lamb to MHProNews. Lamb is a prior chairman of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association, who also owns land-lease communities.

But manufactured home communities that are well managed or in nicer sides of towns have little to no crime, while those that don’t get the proper attention may tend to have more criminal activity,” Lamb said.

I’ve seen a lot of things I never planned to see, Jackie Schams said describing the drug dealers she has had to evict. It’s been an emotional process.

Boulder City Chief of Police Tim Shea says his department sees the difference.

There is a significant reduction in calls for service since Schams took control,” said Shea.

Through the transition to a new owner, some tenants claim that they have been forced out by Schams.

Former resident David Craig claims he and other residents were evicted from the park on April 12th because they complained of unfair conditions. Craig told KTNV that he refused to pay rent until his utilities were fixed.

There’s also a February 26th video that Craig posted to YouTube that he claims is one of many instances of harassment from Schams since late December.

It’s unfair,” said Craig. “I’ll be moving out of state because of this.”

According to KTNV, upon further investigation they discovered that Schams is not legally responsible for fixing trailers. The sale gives him rights over the land and utilities and utility payments are up to date.

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Sandy Sessions speaks to KTNV. Credit: KTNV

Randy is really cleaning this place up, said resident Sandy Sessions. It’s sad, a lot of people have left but they didn’t pay their rent. Sessions shared that she plans to stay. ##

(Editor’s Note: while some believe that manufactured home communities are havens of crime, the story linked here has a downloadable report, authored by a university professor, that demostrates the contrary is true).

(Image Credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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