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Challenges Loom for Ohio MHC Residents

June 2nd, 2017 Comments off
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Homes in the Glen Acres community. Residents have 180 days to vacate. Credit: WDTN.

As the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA) wages a battle in the state capital for manufactured home owners, residents of a community in Fairborn face an uncertain future.

According to WDTN, residents of the Glen Acres Mobile Home Park have been notified that they need to find a new place to call home.

Earlier this week, residents were served notices to vacate the property pending the sale of the land to the city of Fairborn “for a use other than as a manufactured mobile home park.”

The notice told residents that they have 180 days to vacate the property, and was sent by current owners McNamee & McNamee, PLL.

Obviously relocating your manufactured home and belongings will entail significant expense,” the notice read.

In order to ease that transition the City of Fairborn has agreed to provide you with $2,500 in financial assistance upon the condition that your relocation is accomplished no later than 180 days after you receive this notice.”

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Credit: WDTN.

When questioned, the city provided their view regarding responsibility.

The city has been engaged in negotiations to purchase the park [sic] however, no deal has been finalized,” said Fairborn Assistant City Manager Michael Gebhart.

It will probably likely be September or October before we would close if everything goes through. If it does, we would make available $2,500 to each property owner to help with their move.”

While city officials and the community owners work on the details, some residents are making their feelings known.

This is not a time that I need to be worrying about where I’m going to live,” said resident Patricia Ann Collins, who says she’s dealing with being handicapped and having heart issues.

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Resident Patricia Collins. Credit: WDTN.

At this point, it looks like I’m going to have to move into a tent.”

Having been a resident since 1986, Collins says she feels like an afterthought.

It makes me feel like anyone that lives in a mobile home [sic] is always looked down on to begin with and him not calling back makes me feel like I’m a piece of trash,” said Collins.

Another resident, who chose to remain anonymous, also pointed out an issue with some of the older homes.

You can’t relocate a 25-year-old trailer [sic]. The axle and everything underneath is too old. None of the companies around here are willing to do it.”

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Fairborn, shaded in red. Credit: Google.

Gebhart says that it will be taxpayer money that is used to relocate resident’s homes, and that the city will not purchase the land unless residents are gone.

It’s called a mobile home [sic] for a reason. Not to be insensitive, but for us to put up $2,500 to help with that move, that’s the most we can do,” said Gebhart.

 

Terminology Matters

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, terminology matters, and the comment by Gebhart provides another example of how long standing stereotypes and misconceptions are simply regurgitated.

For example, in a recent story on the differences between mobile and manufactured homes, MHProNews asked Urbana, Ohio Fire Chief Mark Keller to clarify details on a recent home fire reported in his town.

This fire involved a true mobile home and was not a manufactured home. I do not have the age of the mobile home available right now,” Urbana Fire Chief Mark Keller told MHProNews.

Mobile homes are inherently bad with fire conditions. They’re not really designed to withhold any kind of fire.”

Chief Keller was specific, because MHProNews directly inquired about the facts of the case, which allowed MHLivingNews to properly represent the facts of that sad incident.

But how can doing that correct-the-record once or occasionally be enough in the face of the thousands of such stories being reported a year?

For more on other communities throughout the U.S. in similar circumstances, including the case of the Lowry Grove community just outside of Minneapolis, click here. ##

(Editor’s Note: An in depth report on this topic of terminology and its impact on manufactured housing was posted by RC Williams this week, and published yesterday, at this link here. Publisher’s note, don’t miss this RC Williams report and analysis, take the time to digest the link below yourself, and then share it with others.)

Schooling Public Officials, Media on Trailers, Mobile Homes, Tiny Homes, and Manufactured Homes

SchoolingPublicOfficialsOnTrailersHousesMobileHomesTinyHousesManufacturedHomesMHLivingNews

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

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

 

(Copyright Notice: This and all content on MHProNews and MHLivingNews always have been and are Copyrighted, © 2017 by MHProNews.com a dba of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – All Rights Reserved. No duplication is permitted without specific written permission. Headlines with link-backs are of course ok. A short-quoted clip, with proper attribution and link back to the specific article are also ok – but you must send a notice to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com of the exact page you’ve placed/posted such a use, once posted.)

UPDATE: Appeals Court Ruling in MHC Case

May 12th, 2017 Comments off

In a follow up to a story the Daily Business News originally covered in December, a Minnesota State Appeals Court ruled in favor of the new owners of the Lowry Grove Mobile Home Park in St. Anthony, in an ongoing dispute over the site’s future.

The story began back in September, when a group of Lowry Grove residents sued to block the sale of the property, testing a state law that said residents had 45 days to match an offer made on the property.

Homeowners partnered with Aeon Management, a Minneapolis based non-profit management company, to make a matching $6 million offer on June 10, the day of the deadline.

The offer was rejected; the residents sued, and Judge Joseph R. Klein ruled against the residents, writing in part that the statute “…does not grant them an unfettered ability to purchase the park [sic]. They were not deprived on that right because it was never, in fact, granted to them.

According to MPR News, while the appeals court rejected the claim, it did say said the community residents may be entitled to more money beyond the cost of their homes.

Residents did receive news in December that the deadline for closing the community has been pushed from March 15 to June 30, 2017, to allow children in the community to finish out the school year.

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The ruling is a win that provides finality for all parties,” said Traci Tomas, Vice President of The Village, LLC, the new owners of the community.

Interestingly, Alan Arthur, CEO of Aeon, also sees good in the ruling.

The court said residents may be entitled to more compensation,” said Arthur.

Alan Arthur. Credit: MPR News.

Residents will use the compensation process to keep pushing for a purchase and a Minnesota Supreme Court appeal is a possibility. We have options that we will be weighing with the residents and with our attorneys.”

The original story on the Lowry Grove community is linked here.

For more on residents working to purchase their communities, including the Dover Point Cooperative in New Hampshire coming together to buy the Polly Ann Park community, click here. ##

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

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

The Promise of Housing – Manufactured Homes Take Center Stage

April 11th, 2017 Comments off
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A refurbished Family Promise home in Grand Rapids, MI. Credit: ABC Newspapers.

In Anoka County, Minnesota, just north of Minneapolis, one organization has seen the light, combining all the benefits of manufactured housing to combat homelessness.

According to ABC Newspapers, non-profit organization Family Promise will receive a $10,000 grant to kick-start a new effort to combat homelessness in Anoka County.

The “Home for Keeps” program allows families who are homeless the opportunity to transition to homeownership, as manufactured homes are refurbished and presented to them.

We are reaching out to local park [sic] owners to see if they have any manufactured homes sitting vacant on their land. We hope that park [sic] owners will sell such homes at low cost or donate them to Family Promise,” said David Frei, executive director of Family Promise.

Frei says that while no community owners have made homes available yet, the opportunity in Anoka County is significant, as it has almost 5000 homesites, more than any other county in the state.

We have a lot of potential for it to grow,” said Frei. “Manufactured housing is getting a rebound in our area.”

Volunteers from Family Promise will fix up the homes for families so they can move in, and eventually receive the title and claim ownership.

It’s a very inexpensive way for people to achieve stability,” said Frei.

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The inside of a refurbished Family Promise home. Credit: ABC Newspapers.

Other Family Promise affiliates in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Orlando, Florida have launched similar programs and seen tremendous success.

Renting space in a manufactured home park [sic] typically costs families much less than renting an apartment would,” Cheryl Schuch, executive director of Family Promise of Grand Rapids.

On average, monthly rent is $450, and the average two-bedroom apartment in Grand Rapids goes for $1,100 monthly.”

Family Promise has moved 91 families into 84 manufactured homes to date.

The only way for them to exit poverty is for them to build assets,” said Schuch.

Owning a manufactured home is certainly a step in the right direction.”

The Daily Business NewsMHProNews and MHLivingNews have covered the case for manufactured housing as a viable solution to hope for the American Dream of home ownership at a reasonable price extensively, including Bloomberg making a statement to the same effect.

For more on manufactured housing being the solution that’s hiding in plain sight, see MHProNews and MHLivingNews Publisher L.A. “Tony” Kovach’s insight into the opportunity linked here. ##

 

(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.

County Zoning Administrator Aaron Lacher Opting Out “Granny Pod” Law

September 30th, 2016 Comments off
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Aaron Lacher is the Planning and Zoning administrator in Houston County, MN. Photo credits: Daniel McGonigle/The Caledonia Argus.

Houston County, MN commissioners chose to opt out of a recently enacted state law at their meeting on September 20th.

Minnesota statute 394.307 (signed into law on May 12) “defines and regulates temporary family health care dwellings on residential property,” Houston County zoning administrator Aaron Lacher told the commissioners.

According to the Spring Grove Herald, many area communities have been opting out of this law.

Throughout the state, these portable, prefabricated housing units are typically a cross between a tiny home and a park model or RV.  They are commonly referred to as “Granny Pods.” They provide small but functional living space that can be navigated by someone using a wheelchair or walker.

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Nextdoor Home. Credit: Kimm Anderson, St Cloud Times

There’s no public hearing required for these, and this [measure] became effective on Sept. 1. However, the law does permit counties and cities to opt out, which is what I recommend,” Lacher said.

According to what Mark Brunner, Executive Director of the Minnesota Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) told MHProNews, while the bill passed the Legislature in record time, and was signed by the governor; the “opt out” ordinance language in the bill was a “must have” provision for the League of Minnesota Cities to not more aggressively oppose an otherwise popular bill.

As I understand it, based on some research that the Minnesota Association of Planning and Zoning Administrators did, is that there is a company based in the Metro [Minneapolis/St. Paul] area that lobbied strongly to get this law into the books,” Lacher told the Herald. “The law essentially describes the product that they manufacture, and allows it to be placed without the normal zoning checks that cities and counties have.”

In presenting his resolution to the commissioners, Lacher stated that the new law “erodes local control of the permitting process, limits a county’s ability to foster and guide development, and places undue burden on county staff to forgo standard permitting practices.”

His resolution also cites an existing zoning ordinance, which provides for the temporary installation of factory-built homes for family members based on medical hardship. 

We need to opt out,” commissioner Teresa Walter said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to do so.

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Inside of a Nextdoor home. Credit: Kimm Anderson, St. Cloud Times

According to The St. Could Times, St. Cloud, Sherburne, Stearns and Benton counties have also opted out.

According to the counties, the challenge with the new law is around already existing county zoning rules and restrictions in the new law that may not be practical.

We think ours [laws] make more sense for our purposes,” said Chelle Benson, Stearns County Environmental Services Director.

Restrictions in the new law include:

  • Units cannot be larger than 300 square feet
  • Units cannot be attached to a permanent foundation and must connect to the main house’s electric and water utilities.
  • Units must have siding similar to a standard house and meet building codes.
  • Only one person can live in the unit, and the caregiver must show proof that the person requires assistance with daily living.

That’s not very realistic, especially if you’re doing health care, said Benson. Some of these people need longer times.

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Mark Brunner, MMHA.

Several municipalities rushed to pass the “opt out” ordinance prior to September 1, especially in the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The Legislature adopted a MMHA amendment to the bill, specifically including IBC labeled modular units within the new statutory definition of a Temporary Healthcare Dwelling, or Granny Pod,” said Brunner.

Prior to the MMHA amendment being adopted, IBC labeled modular units had been excluded for use as a temporary healthcare dwelling, something previously permitted under the MN State Building Code and Zoning Statutes,” Brunner stated. The bill amended MN Zoning Statutes making Granny Pods a permitted use, versus including them within the MN State Building Code.“##

(Editor’s Note: MHProNews writer Matthew Silver covered “Granny Pods” as a solution to what the St. Could Times is calling the “Silver Tsunami” of aging baby boomers.)

(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.

 

 

 

 

Battle Over Community Owner’s Rights vs. Resident’s Rights highlighted in St. Anthony case

September 28th, 2016 Comments off

lowrygrovecreditstartribunestanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsResidents of the Lowry Grove community in the Minneapolis, MN suburb of St. Anthony lost their bid to block the sale of the property, according to a ruling by a Hennepin County Judge.

We continue working together to save Lowry Grove. We will organize more action,” said Antonia Alvarez, president of the Lowry Grove Resident Association, per the Star Tribune’s report. I understand they are very rich, but we have community support.”

The ruling is a blow to the residents who sued to keep the park open. A state law drafted in 1991 was designed to give manufactured home owners the right of first refusal to buy land in the event it was put up for sale.

paulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsPaul Bradley, president of ROC USA posed the following question to MHProNews. “How can we promote homeownership and sell new homes on leased land and at the same time close communities?”

Judge Joseph R. Klein wrote, in part, that the statute “…does not grant them an unfettered ability to purchase the park. They were not deprived on that right because it was never, in fact, granted to them.judgejosephkleincreditmncourtsgovstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews1

 

This is believed to be the first major legal test of the law.

The owners of Lowry Grove, LLC notified residents in April that they intended to sell the property to The Village LLC, a subsidiary of Wayzata, MN based Continental Property Group, for $6 million. The Village announced that they would close the park in a year and redevelop the 15 acres of land.

Fearing the loss of access to good schools and safe streets, the residents prepared to respond.

Under state law, residents had 45 days to match the offer. Homeowners partnered with Aeon Management, a Minneapolis based non-profit management company, to make a matching $6 million offer on June 10, the day of the deadline.

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Lowry Grove residents protesting.

The offer was rejected.

On June 13, the sale to The Village became final. Aeon Management and Lowry Grove residents sued, arguing that the law, and their civil rights, had been violated.

 

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The Lowry Grove RV park and manufactured home community is on a prime parcel of real estate, as this Google earth image reflects.

When the statue was passed, said Judge Klein, the intent was clear.

Should a park be sold contrary to [the law] the only remedy the residents in the park have is to sue under a violation of this law for something besides ownership of the land, said Judge Klein.

Explaining further, Klein wrote that lawmakers were balancing competing priorities when passing the statute, giving manufactured homeowners a tool to protect their homes while not overtly interfering with park owner’s ability to sell their property.”

tomastracicreditiremmnstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews1We are pleased with, but not surprised by, Judge Klein’s ruling,” said The Village Vice President Traci Tomas in a written statement. “From the beginning, we’ve realized that this is a difficult situation for the residents. That has never been something we’ve taken lightly.”

Tomas has also denied violating the state statute, countering that residents didn’t meet all the criteria. She also shared where the Village’s focus is.

Right now, we are focused on those who have expressed a desire to complete their move before winter sets in,” Tomas said. “We are working with the City of St. Anthony so residents can submit applications to the Minnesota Manufactured Home Relocation Trust Fund for financial assistance that will help with their relocation.”

jimayottecreditmhpronewsusersrcdesktoppaulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsJim Ayotte, Executive Director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA), provided commentary on a similar situation with the Denver Meadows community in Aurora, CO in his column on MHProNews. “It costs money to create affordable housing, which local governments don’t have, and it is more politically expedient to put the screws to a business owner and get favorable press for protecting a group of economically challenged homeowners.

This is unfair to the private sector and, quite frankly, should be unconstitutional,” says Ayotte. “What that said, it is the responsibility of all parties to do the right thing.”alanarthuraeoncreditmprnewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews1

Aeon Management CEO Alan Arthur commented, “I am sad that our world seems to value bottom line financial returns more than it does people.” Aeon is also exploring other legal options for Lowry Grove residents.

The struggle over community owner’s property rights vs. land-lease community resident rights continues, and the Daily Business News plans to track this story to its conclusion. ##

(Editor’s Note: Equity LifeStyle Communities Chairman Sam Zell’s view on property owners rights is published exclusively in a report on MHProNews, linked here.

(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.

Millennials not Quick to Buy Home

September 19th, 2013 Comments off

A USA Today survey of Census Bureau data reveals the Millennial Generation, those between 25 and 34, buoyed the renters’ ranks by some one million from 2006 to 2011, while homeownership dropped nearly 1.4 million. For some of that generation renting is a result of liftstyle and finances—they may take another job elsewhere, and in some cases do not want the ties that come with homeownership. Rental agents say occupants are older, more often single and are staying longer than they have in the past. Equity Residential has left behind properties in smaller markets like Detroit and Minneapolis and delved into major markets like New York, Boston and San Francisco. “I think they are embracing the social lifestyle of high-density urban living,” says Equity Residential CEO David Neithercut of the young adults. However, as MHProNews has learned, a Trulia survey in June revealed that 94 percent of renters 18-34 still plan to own a home someday.

(Image credit: rentdirect.com)

Modular Designer begins in U. S., Flourishes in Canada

July 4th, 2013 Comments off

Hive Modular of Minneapolis suffered mightily during the recession, but the company has been growing in Canada, enough to have three locations: Altona in Manitoba, Toronto, and one will be set to the east in Quebec. Hive started as a “night job” in 2005 by Paul Stankey and two friends, and has produced 25 custom homes. As MHProNews reported Sept. 21, 2012, a highly energy efficient, 2,075 square foot green house with three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths was sited in Calgary for around $160 a foot. Hive offers custom made modulars to fit lot sizes and conditions, and the modules arrive on site complete: Painted drywall, electricals, fireplace, flooring, windows and kitchen. One feature offered by Hive is Plyboo cabinets—plywood-like material but made from bamboo with exposed edges that resemble marquetry. According to the globeandmail, one customer says, “You’d start getting pictures and half your house was built.”

(Photo credit: Paul Stankey/theglobeandmail)

Housing Recovery Gains out West

August 9th, 2012 Comments off

OriginationNews says in the first quarter 2012 seven Florida housing markets were on Realtor.com‘s housing recovery list, but only one market in California was included. In the second quarter, six CA markets placed on the top ten list. In addition, Seattle, Phoenix, Boise City and Minneapolis were among the top 25 turnaround cities. Realtor rankings are based on year-over-year median price appreciation, inventory reductions, time and changes in inventory, and employment rates. For the second month in a row, Phoenix led the top ten list where the median list price rose 29.7% year-over-year. As MHProNews has learned, Arizona was among the top states in terms of foreclosures.

(Photo credit: Phoenix Homes)

S&P Shows Home Prices Still Declining

December 27th, 2011 Comments off

S & P Chart Dec 27Data released today by S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show decreases of 1.1 percent and 1.2 percent for the 10- and 20-City Composites in October vs. September. Nineteen of the 20 cities covered by the indices also saw home prices decrease over the month. The 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual returns of -3.0 percent and -3.4 percent versus October 2010, respectively. Fourteen of the 20 MSAs and both Composites saw improved annual returns compared to September’s data. Miami saw no change in annual returns in October; while Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Minneapolis saw their annual rates worsen. At -11.7 percent Atlanta posted the lowest annual return. Detroit and Washington DC were the only two cities to post positive annual returns of +2.5 percent and +1.3 percent, respectively. “Atlanta and the Midwest are regions that really stand out in terms of recent relative weakness,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. Atlanta was down 5.0 percent over the month, after having fallen by 5.9 percent in September. It also has the weakest annual return, down 11.7 percent. Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Minneapolis all posted monthly declines of 1.0 percent or more in October. These markets were some of the strongest during the spring/summer buying season. However, Detroit is the healthiest when viewed on an annual basis. It is up 2.5 percent versus October 2010. Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas are four markets where average prices are below their January 2000 levels; and Atlanta and Las Vegas posted new lows in October.

(Image Credit: S&P/Case-Shiller)