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Metro Town Rejects Hundreds of Affordable Housing Units, Cites Reasons Against Using Manufactured Homes

December 27th, 2018 Comments off

 

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Image above used to illustrate an actual attached garage to an existing manufactured home, which is noted as part of the proposal in the story details further below.

Taxes. Appearances. Uncertainty about the future.

 

Those are some of the excuses, err, reasons that trustees of South Elgin, a part of the Chicago metro, rejected a 296 unit manufactured home community development that would have served residents 55 and older.

It’s a story that affordable housing and manufactured home industry pros know, but as 2018 winds down, illustrates just how much work lies ahead.

Freelance journalist Janelle Walker’s Courier News report ironically made the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune has had serious financial ties to Sam Zell, whose Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) is one of the top two community operations in manufactured housing.

In a split decision, the South Elgin Village Board declined a proposal late last month for a new manufactured home community. Developers PND 3001 Investments had sought a zoning change for a special use permit, said Walker, for a site plan approval for the 296 units it wanted to place on an 88-acre site on Umbdenstock Road.

 

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Walker was writing for the general public, so an industry professional wouldn’t normally need some details her generally fine narrative provided.

But concerns about how the state taxes manufactured homes — also called mobile homes — and how those taxes would be split among governing bodies stopped some trustees from approving the project.

The state of Illinois taxes mobile homes as “chattel.” While a buyer pays sales tax on the initial home purchase, an annual fee to the state and rent to the owner for use of the land, the property owner only pays taxes for the land on which the homes are located,” per the Tribune account.

 

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Walker said that trustees John Sweet and Mike Kolodziej voted in favor of the development.

They look nice … different from a stick-built home but not really,” Sweet said. “I think it is an alternative,” and adds another option to the village’s housing stock, explaining his vote, adding “We need more diversity in our housing.”

But South Elgin village board trustee Scott Richmond said he could not support the development.

I don’t think it is the right project for us,” said Richmond. “This puts the village tax base at risk. This project on this land is not appropriate.”

The land is currently zoned for industrial use, explained Walker. But there are housing developments on two sides with an industrial park to the south. To the east is farmland, which may also be the target for future development activity.

PND’s plan included an agreed to limit the development to residents 55 and older or restricting children from living there for more than 14 days at a time.  The PND Plan also included an attached garage for each home. All of those items were apparently added following initial discussions with the South Elgin Planning and Zoning Commission and later with the Village Board.

Larry Lapin of PND 3001 estimated taxes on the property at some $400,000 a year. To mollify the concerns over the relatively lower tax revenue such a project would bring compared to other possible projects, the developers had also offered to add a clause to the agreement to pay an additional $350 per unit.  That $350 bump was to be divided between the village and the South Elgin & Countryside Fire Protection District.

 

A YIMBY vs. NIMBY View of the South Elgin Case

Apparently the added sweeteners and incentives didn’t work. 

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Tye has argued that manufactured homes should be seen as a plus, not a minus.  Perhaps as or more important is the hidden cost to a town, individuals, society, and taxpayers when affordable housing isn’t made available.

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NBER researchers Hseih and Moretti make the case that failure to provide affordable housing near where people work costs the U.S. $2 trillion annually in lost GDP. To learn more click the link here, or see the related report, further below.

 

Trustee Greg Lieser agreed with Richmond, arguing that if the property was sold, new owners would not follow agreements being made in the present, or would seek to have them changed.  But isn’t that ‘concern’ possible for other kinds of developments too? Does that argument against this proposed project just mask a NIMBYite view against affordable homes in general, or manufactured homes specifically?

 

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There is too much uncertainty with the owners and rent, and what this might look like in 10 or 20 years. I do appreciate that you listened. I wish you would have come in originally with a solid plan,” Lieser said.  Rephrased, was Lieser concerned that manufactured homes would – after a decade or two – somehow morph into the appearance of 70 year old trailers houses?  Isn’t prejudice and more at work in the background of this South Elgin tale?

 

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As 2018 winds down, and 2019 looms, projects like this reveals just how much work lies ahead for the greater acceptance of affordable housing in general, and manufactured homes in particular.

 

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The Trulia research reinforces what HUD’s PD&R on manufactured homes appreciated side by side with conventional housing discovered. Namely, that affordable homes and manufactured homes don’t negatively impact property values.

 

These are the kinds of projects that a post-production manufactured home advocacy trade group needs, that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has long argued should be created.  It is also the kind of project that the national umbrella trade group, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), has only occasionally made any effort at addressing.

Is MHI’s failure to act due in part to dominating Clayton Homes increased attraction to more profitable conventional housing?  That’s but one conflict of interest that bears more exploration, and which mainstream media and advocacy groups arguably ought to explore and spotlight.

A prior Daily Business News on MHProNews report on this same project is found under the related reports, linked further below the disclosures and bylines.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News , analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

 

Plan for New 296 Site Metro Manufactured Home Community

MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector

 

FEAR, a Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis, and the Manufactured Home Dilemma

 

Zillow Research Reveals Impact of Rising Rents on Homelessness, Affordable Housing Advocates, Public Officials, and Investors Take Note

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power of Pushback, Spotlighting – “Controversial” Modular Home Placement Reversed

October 19th, 2017 Comments off

PushbackDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe latest twist in the story of a modular home that was going to be forced out of a development took an interesting turn.  To understand the issue, Daily Business News readers will recall the factory-built housing industry’s most complete report, linked here.

What looked like a sad win for NIMBYism, against seemingly any form of off-site home building, has taken a positive turn for the builder and home buyer involved.

How did that happen?

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A Local Letter to the Editor…

A recent letter to the editor of MLivethat latter of which was the primary media source on this controversy – begins, “How sad that the residents of Allendale Township are so resistant to something different that they would belly-ache about a resident having his home built of modular construction.”

Whether they know it or not, a modular home is ‘stick-built’ just as much as the homes they now live in. The only difference is that they were built under the roof of a factory, on a flat surface, where it didn’t get rained or snowed on, and with no wind storms that could rip Tyvek off the exterior walls and shingles off the roof,” wrote Carl De Vries, of nearby Jenison, MI.

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The term ‘modular home’ cannot be confused with the term ‘manufactured homes.’…” Vries stated, ending by chiding the NIMBY-minded locals with, “C’mon Allendale, join the modern age.”

The Rest of the Story…

Sherry Kuyt recaps MLive’s account of the events.  Bullets below were added by MHProNews, but the text is that of Kuyt.

  • On Sept. 19, Curtis Moran put upSherryKuytMLiveDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews a 1,387-square-foot three-bedroom modular home at 5367 Crestfield Lane in the Springfields III development.
  • About a week later, Moran was told by the developer, Merwyn Koster, that the home would have to be removed after complaints by neighbors and other builders.
  • But on Oct. 16, Moran announced that his negotiations with the developer had proved successful.

Describing the reversal, Kuyt states, “It is going to stay,” Moran said. “It is set in stone; everything’s signed off.”

He did not explain why the developer changed his mind, and said he did not pay any settlement money to Koster. Koster could not be reached for comment,” MLive’s account stated.

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What the above reflects is that the letter to the editor was published the same day as the published announcement was made.  That makes it unlikely to have influenced the discussion.

But this reversal happened to take place just days after MHProNews published its in-depth look at this issue. It must be noted that other housing industry sources had also spotlighted this issue, and no doubt the parties involved were also in talks.

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The factory-built home, as many industry professionals observed, is residential in appearance and set over a basement, yet the neighbors pushed back.  The original story, linked here, has been reversed within just days of the report being published.

Did spotlighting and push-back have an influence?  At this time, a definitive answer is unknown.

WilliamBillShefferMiManufacturedHousingAssocDarrenKrolewskiMHVillageTomHardemanModBuildingInstittuepostedDailyBusinessnwesMHProNews

William Bill Sheffer, Darren Krolewski, Tom Hardeman were among the professionals who sounded off, on the record, on this modular controversy. Within days, the locals changed their decision. Other media also pointed out this same story. Did the array of pushback influence the local decision? See original story, linked here.

What seems obvious is this. “If nothing is challenged, then nothing changes.” – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Several factory built housing industry members provided feedback that made the MHProNews article possible – are hereby applauded, and are always valued.

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis.)

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

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

MHC Community Expansion Faces Challenges – NIMBY?

February 10th, 2017 Comments off
MHCCommunityExpansionFacesChallengescreditOxfordEagle1-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Water Valley residents at a board of supervisors meeting. Credit: Oxford Eagle.

The proposed expansion of a manufactured home community in Water Valley, Mississippi, appears to have hit a snag after a city meeting this week.

According to the Oxford Eagle, city officials said that the city does not have the capacity to provide sewage for the entire project.

In response to questions from multiple attendees at the meeting, Mayor Larry Hart explained the city would provide water, sewage and electricity for the portion of property located inside the city limits, which could accommodate eight to 10 additional manufactured homes in the community, which currently has 12 homes. Four local men purchased the property and property surrounding it, totaling 29.5 acres, last year for development. Two-thirds of the land sits outside the city limits.

At this time we do not want to expand the city’s utility system into the county for a project of this size. We are going to operate within the city limits,” said Hart.

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Mayor Larry Hart. Credit: North Mississippi Herald.

Any extra sewage capacity in the town’s wastewater treatment facility will be reserved for future growth inside the city.”

Mayor Hart told the meeting that the portion of the property that is located inside of the city limits is zoned “R-4”, which is a special residential designation that permits manufactured home communities. City Attorney John Crow added that guidelines for development in R-4 property is very restrictive.

The streets have to be paved, the manufactured houses must be under-girded, it’s got to be landscaped, it has got to be sodded. You can’t just start stacking them in there,” said Crow.

We will enforce that ordinance,” said Hart, responding to questions regarding enforcement.

Last month, the developers said that they were still in the planning phase and did not speculate about the total number of manufactured homes the proposed project would encompass.

They also stressed their goal was to create an affordable, safe and family oriented community and they planned to purchase new manufactured homes for the expansion.

Mayor Hart explained that protocol requires a proposal first be submitted to the city’s planning commissioners.

As of this moment, there is no permit in front of the city for anything. The permit application starts the ball to rolling,” said Hart.

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Credit: Oxford Eagle.

 

NIMBY?

The proposed development has also created controversy in town.

Multiple residents cited that close to 100 homes could be included in the development at maximum capacity, which presented concerns.

The issue was addressed at a Board of Supervisors meeting, and supervisors discussed the possibility of implementing land use ordinances in the county.

Currently the county does not have zoning or land use ordinances other than a flood plain ordinance.

We may need to consider some future planning,” said Board President Cayce Washington.

Where something like this has to flow through this board before someone can go out there and do this. I don’t think our target is going to be an individual homeowner, it is going to be more for developers.

I support an ordinance that would provide minimum subdivision standards for future development as well as restrictions for properties that have become a blight in the county” said District Three Supervisor Lee McMinn.

I am thinking in terms for future development and for protection of current homeowners.

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Credit: OHRC.ON.CA, under fair use.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of potential NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) stories recently, where current residents appear to be working to keep manufactured homes or communities out. Most notable is the case in Aiken, South Carolinawhere Councilman Danny Feagin was quoted as saying “As long as it keeps the mobile home parks [sic] out, I think the folks would be satisfied,” in relation to a proposed rezoning ordinance. ##

(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.

Northern NIMBY? Controversy, but New Manufactured Home Development Gets OK’d

September 22nd, 2016 Comments off

protestingredevelopmentmayerthorpefreelancer-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrydailybusinessnewsThe opposition has been steady, and at times, with intense emotions on the side of those who wanted to ‘just say no’ to the redevelopment of a city park into a new, affordable, manufactured home development.

To me, Ellis Granley Park was a huge, big space that had a lot of potential to be developed further as a park,” local resident Susan White said. “A lot of people feel strongly about green space.”

But Mayerthorpe, Alberta’s lady mayor had a differing observation.

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It’s a very appealing spot, the elevation there is high, there’s trees planted. It was just an inactive park and why, I don’t know,said Mayerthorpe Mayor Kate Patrick told the Freelancer.

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According to the Freelancer, the process of trying to preserve – or sell the land – has been in progress for over two years. The town considers the area to be under-utilized, and the park was finally sectioned off to begin redevelopment last week.

The cost to the town to develop it is lower than in other parts of the community, due to services being close by.

There has been request to have this type of area in our town. Council is very positive that people will take interest in it and buy this up,” Patrick said. There will probably be businesses coming in there starting next year and we’ll need more housing for this area.” 

Mayor Patrick has said that they new manufactured housing area will not compete with other residential homes for sale.

Clearly, not everyone agreed.

Susan White and LaDonna Harris were among the staunch opponents to the plan.

Parking was an issue, that could have been made easier, accessible,” said Harris. Paths could have been created. There was lots of suggestions through the whole process over the last two years.”

While concerned residents had two public hearings to share concerns, Harris feels like they were not heard.

Although we had opportunity to share our concerns, it seemed like they were going to do it no matter what anybody said,” she stated.

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Mayor Patrick said that she’s heard from a number of people in the public that the town is moving in the right direction, although only two members of the public spoke in favor of the development. 13 named individuals spoke against the development.

I just feel that the town did their best in engaging the public on this controversial issue that some have made it into,” said the mayor. “It was only a very minimal amount that protested it.”

It seems that NIMBY isn’t just in the U.S., it happens up north too. But in this case, as with Scott Robert’s of Roberts Resorts recent example, persistence and the right plan can achieve the goal of opening up more manufactured housing in a community. ##

(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, MHProNews.

UMH Properties Alters Plans from Modular to a Manufactured Home Community

June 20th, 2015 Comments off

umh communities creditA proposal by UMH Properties, Inc. originally presented ten years ago for 253 modular homes in Coxsackie, New York has re-emerged as a manufactured home community (MHC) development with 161 homes. The original plan ran into community opposition as well as a threat to an endangered bird species and a sewer moratorium that limits development.

Village attorney Jason Shaw says there is an old law that has never been altered that would allow for an MHC, and according to the new proposal, there is no call for a special use permit. The only reason it would not work is the sewer moratorium. The sewer system is undergoing an upgrade, but the major bulk of the work is not set for the near future, according to thedailymail.

Sam Landy, President of UMH Properties, said the reason they changed from modular to manufactured housing is to be in compliance with the code. In answer to questions about appearance, Landy replied I have been doing this since 1987, and I can put two homes side by side — one manufactured and one modular — and they would look the same, both inside and out.” Noting they would all be multi-sectional homes, he added the plan is to build a first-class development, similar to other developments UMH has built, such as Pine Manor in Carlisle, PA, and Somerset and Whispering Pines in Somerset, PA.

Shaw said UMH could conceivably phase in the homes slowly, like 30 units at a time, until the sewer upgrade can handle more units. The village may also ask UMH to help pay for the upgrade which, as MHProNews understands, could allow for the development to quicken its pace.

However, Deputy Mayor Stephen Hanse says the law that allows UMH to site MH is dated and the village needs to look at present day realities. Mayor Mark Evans responded that revising the law just as UMH is planning its development could open the door to a lawsuit. Shaw replied that it’s within the village’s right to do that, even banning MH altogether.

As stewards of the character of our village, we need to step back and look at this through that perspective,” Hanse said. “We have to decide if this is something we want in this village, and work from there.

In addition, the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) the company filled out would have to be altered because there are fewer units than previously planned, which means there would be less demand on the water and sewer systems. However, UMH has altered the plan from a 55+ community to all ages, which will likely impact the school system.

In any case, there is nothing for the Village Board to vote or take action on at this time. ##

(Photo credit: UMH Properties, Inc.)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily business News-MHProNews.

Canadians Investing Large in U.S. Housing Markets

August 29th, 2014 Comments off

canada-us-flags-wikicommons-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-“In the U.S., given the affordability and the fact that prices in the suburbs went down more significantly than in the cities you will see more and more options and opportunities outside big cities,” said Benjamin Tal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) analyst. With Canadian markets hot – and some fear over-heating – the bargains south of the border in the U.S. are appareling, Reuters  tells MHProNews.

Compared to Canadians, U.S. home builders may be more tentative. Canadian firms such as Mattamy Homes, Landmark Group and Brookfield Residential are targeting suburban U.S. markets, where they believe they see more value and lower costs. Some are planning 2 years out, when they believe U.S. recovery will be more solid; a nice way of saying that the bargain deals are here now.

Privately held Mattamy Homes is Canada’s biggest builder. They’ve purchased 9,600 acres in Florida alone this year, but also are operating in Minnesota, Arizona, North Carolina.

Landmark Group is a leader in Alberta. They’ve invested in land in Phoenix, Arizona, to build their first U.S. condos. Texas, California and Georgia are all on their radar.

Calgary, Alberta-based Brookfield Residential announced developments will start developing several new projects this year, ahead of their initial 2016 schedule. 

This news comes on the heals of China-based Landsea’s announcement that they will be doing 1 billion dollars in new U.S. Housing. Canadians investors are among those targeting the U.S. for manufactured home community purchases, for more, click here. ##

(Image credits: WikiCommons)

Modular Homes Completed on Schedule

January 13th, 2012 Comments off

As a follow-up to our story Nov 8. 2011, MHProNews.com has learned from MLive in Michigan that the first phase of the Smith Village Neighborhood development of 27 modular homes was completed as scheduled, Dec. 31, 2011. Champion Homes and Russell Building Group are constructing 83 dwellings in Flint, MI to replace dilapidated homes that were demolished. Half of the homes will be for low-to-moderate income families. The $16 million project is being funded by the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The homes, with energy efficient appliances, will be ready for occupancy Feb. 1. Charles Young, of Smith Village Construction Services, says the next phase will be 20 site-built homes, scheduled to begin in March, weather permitting.

Photo credit: Ryan Garza/Flint Journal)