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Michigan Manufactured Housing Association Announces Changes

March 31st, 2017 Comments off

Credit: MMHA.

The Michigan Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) tells MHProNews that it is renaming the organization’s nonprofit foundation as The Tim DeWitt HARVEST Education Foundation, in tribute to his nearly four decades of service to the organization.

Dewitt originally founded the HARVEST Education Foundation in 1995, and to date the organization has awarded $304,575 in financial scholarships to 569 students, some of whom are interested in pursuing a career in the manufactured or modular housing industries, recreational vehicle or campground industries and the self-storage industry.

Renaming the scholarship was the least we could do to honor the leadership and dedication Tim DeWitt gave the organization over the past 39 years,” said Bill Sheffer, executive director of MMH/RVCA and the Self-Storage Association of Michigan.

As a result of Tim’s vision and passion, he has ignited interest in the business to a new generation.

Tim DeWitt. Credit: RV Business.

DeWitt also spearheaded a HARVEST fundraising effort in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the Detroit Camper & RV Show in 2016, which raised nearly $50,000.

The generosity of our members is wonderful,” said DeWitt. “Their donations are spearheading the growth and development of the RV, manufactured and modular home and self-storage industries.

DeWitt began at MARVAC in 1977, and became executive director in 1984. Bill Sheffer, who has been with MARVAC since 1995, succeeded DeWitt on July 1, 2016.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, the Michigan Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) is one of Michigan’s oldest trade associations, founded in 1941, and represents the manufactured and modular home industry in Michigan.

For details on how to apply for a Tim DeWitt HARVEST Education Foundation scholarship, contact Kristen Keller at 586.752.6381. Applications are being accepted until April 17, 2017 for the 2017-2018 academic year. ##

(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

A Call for Changes at FEMA

March 3rd, 2017 Comments off
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New model FEMA units in Louisiana. Credit: Yahoo.

Testimony by former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this week to the House Homeland Security Committee’s Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications Subcommittee, included some very stern words about the current state of the organization. That included the call for experienced leadership.

FEMA is not the place for on-the-job-training,” said Fugate.

A new administrator should understand that FEMA’s response to disasters and crisis situations isn’t about putting FEMA in charge. Rather, it’s about the agency stepping up to help local, state and tribal governments, as well as other federal agencies in those situations,” said Fugate.

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Craig Fugate. Credit: FCW.

According to FCW, Fugate had been the FEMA administrator since 2009, but quietly stepped down in January as the Trump administration took office.

While at FEMA, Fugate worked on multiple fronts to speed and improve the agency’s response capabilities, including better harnessing digital media, including smart phone apps that let citizens report problems using photos and GPS coordinates for trouble spots in disaster areas.

The position remains officially vacant, with Robert Fenton Jr., the agency’s administrator for Region IX, in place as acting administrator.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, Fenton was asked by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (HOGR) chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) for answers after discovering a slew of problems with FEMA’s use of post-disaster temporary housing in Louisiana, including the death of 84-year-old Baton Rouge resident Everett Wilson in his temporary FEMA home on October 25th from overheating.

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A family looks at the remains of their home after the Louisiana floods. Credit: NOLA.

House lawmakers were in agreement with Fugate, noting that the agency needs a seasoned emergency responder to fill the leadership position and to continue its forward momentum.

We need an experienced manger to lead FEMA,” said subcommittee Chairman Dan Donovan (R- NY).

Ranking member Donald Payne (D-NJ) also commented.

The new administration must be engaged with FEMA as threats grow and evolve,” said Payne.

FEMA’s development and work has become increasingly effective post-Hurricane Katrina,” he said. “A pause in naming a new administrator could slow that momentum.

Fugate also said that the next FEMA leader has to be a person of action, not one that waits for information to trickle in during a crisis.

FEMA can’t be an organization that can’t take risks,said Fugate.

Action is a strength that sometimes produces mistakes.”

For more on FEMA, including in-depth coverage of the agency’s response to the Louisiana floods, click here. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

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.##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

MHC Community Owners Seek Code Changes

February 7th, 2017 Comments off
MHCCommunityOwnersSeekCodeChangescreditBismarckTribune-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Bismarck Tribune.

In Bismarck, North Dakota, affordable housing is of vital importance.

And, according to the Bismarck Tribune, a group of manufactured home community owners are petitioning the city commission for the creation of a task force to keep manufactured home community living affordable.

 

These homes represent the most affordable unsubsidized housing in Bismarck,” the letter from community owners reads.

Unfortunately, Bismarck’s city policies unfairly burden the affordability of manufactured homes and impose on these homeowners costs which other homeowners are not asked to bear.

According to Myron Atkinson, spokesman for the group, and owner of Tatley Meadows, the issue is the manner in which costs for water, sewer, property taxes and other services are calculated.

The current calculation leads to a higher price per unit for those living in manufactured home communities versus those in other residential properties.

For example, sewer service is charged at a rate of $2.41 per unit for those with one to four families on a meter,” said Atkinson.

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Credit: MH Village.

For those with five or more on a meter, the rate is $2.92 per unit, meaning mobile home [sic] owners pay a higher rate even though they each own their homes individually.

Atkinson shared that some progress has been made over the last year but there are still discrepancies.

Manufactured home owners were specially assessed at 200 percent of a special assessment basis, compared to 100 percent for a single-family dwelling.

While that percentage has been reduced to 150 percent, it’s still an issue for Atkinson.

We want our people treated like every other homeowner,” said Atkinson.

We [MHC operators] are expecting a sudden change in sanitary sewer rates being affected by federal environmental regulations, with rates expected to go from $2.56 to $2.92. It’s going to make a real difference in what rent increase is going to have to be.

And that rent increase has MHC owners concerned. Atkinson is estimating he will have to raise rents $15 per month just due to the sanitary sewer rates. By comparison, he says that he usually tries to keep increases below 3 percent annually as he adjusts for rising costs in employee salaries and services.

If you’ve got affordable housing, you should keep it affordable,” said Atkinson.

While the group has not heard back from city commissioners, Atkinson said that they are hopeful for a response soon, and that the proposed task force would include both residents and owners working with the city to find solutions to the challenges. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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