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Federal Housing Discrimination Suit Filed against Pearl, Mississippi

September 4th, 2015 Comments off

photographersdirect__creditFollowing a story MHProNews posted Aug. 27, 2015 regarding a judge’s ruling that the city of Pearl, Mississippi was illegally trying to eradicate manufactured home communities (MHCs) through attrition, three owners of Pearl MHCs have filed a Federal lawsuit charging the city with “purposeful discrimination” against low-and-middle-income housing, according to msbusiness.

The city ordinance forbade community owners from replacing vacant home sites in MHCs saying it was an expansion of a non-conforming use, but Judge John Emfinger ruled it is only a legal continuation of a non-conforming use, causing the city to reverse its policy.

Attorney John G. Corlew says the city’s “Rental Housing Code” specifically targets manufactured home communities and apartment complexes, and is “an effort to destroy the economic viability of rental properties.” The rental code adopted by Mayor Brad Rogers and the city council in October requires all MHC and apartment owners to build storm shelters to accommodate all residents that would withstand the force of an F-2 tornado.

Additionally, the city mandated apartment complexes be retrofitted with sprinkler systems.

In June 2013 the city adopted an ordinance requiring manufactured homes have a minimum of 1,400 square feet. Under the ordinance, size requirements for multi-family apartments ranged from 850 square feet for a single bedroom unit to 1,500 square feet for apartments with two or more bedrooms.

Moreover, the mayor and council are considering a motion to erase all non-conforming uses from the city tax rolls, a move that specifically targets manufactured homes and apartments.

In addition to claiming MH and apartments affect values of nearby properties, the city cites public safety as an issue. In a previous bid to persuade the judge to disallow new MH from occupying vacant homesites, City Attorney James Bobo had urged the judge to not allow the ownes of an MHC to operate a trailer park full of potential death traps until the end of time.

In an earlier email, noting the city had been lax in its land use policies, Bobo wrote “Now, the City leaders could sit on their hands and hope the folks in apartment buildings don’t burn to death… or they could sit on their hands and ignore the fact that Pearl is located in one of the most active tornado alleys on the planet.

Corlew represents the owners of Grove Acres Mobile Home Park, Robinson and Romona Mobile Home Parks, and Bierdeman Mobile Home Park. ##

(Image credit: photographersdirect)

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

Judge Rules Manufactured Home Community’s Right to Replace Homes

August 27th, 2015 Comments off

miss mfg housing assocUpdating a story MHProNews published Jan. 16, 2015 regarding the city of Pearl, Mississippi’s attempt to prevent a manufactured home community (MHC) from refilling vacated sites with manufactured homes (MH), Madison-Rankin Circuit Judge John H. Emfinger ruled the city does not have that authority, saying the ordinance would destroy the Homewood company’s Grove Acres Mobile Home Community by attrition.

The ruling represents a second setback for Rankin County in its attempt to limit the siting of MH. In a 9-0 ruling in May, the Mississippi Supreme Court struck down a similar land-use policy in Richland, according to msbusiness, stating Richland arbitrarily and capriciously stepped on the constitutional rights of the MHC’s owners.

In the Pearl case, Judge Emfinger ruled a local government was trying to enforce a non-conforming use ordinance on a site-by-site basis instead of applying it to the entire community. The judge said Grove Acres “has a constitutional right to continue its enjoyment of its property and the action by the City is a violation of Homewood’s constitutional right to enjoy its property.

Pearl City Attorney James Bobo had hoped to persuade the judge to not allow Homewood to operate a trailer park full of potential death traps until the end of time. ##

(Image credit: Mississippi Manufactured Housing Association)

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

Manufactured Home Community has Right to Re-rent Homesites

May 16th, 2015 Comments off

mfg home  credit mhpronewsThe Mississippi Supreme Court upheld an appeal’s court ruling which gives the Cleveland Mobile Home Park in Richland, MS the right to re-rent vacated homesites in the manufactured home community (MHC). The city of Richland wanted to reduce density in the MHC, arguing homesite re-use was non-conforming and therefore in violation of the city’s ordinance.

The Court ruled Richland’s zoning law was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated Cleveland’s “constitutional right to enjoy its property.” The Madison-Rankin Circuit Court had ruled in Richland’s favor, as msbusiness informs MHProNews.

The owners of Cleveland appealed that ruling, saying that re-filling a vacancy was continuation of an established use, not expansion of a non-conforming use. The Mississippi Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) said upholding Richland’s zoning law interpretation would have “devastating effects on manufactured-housing parks across Mississippi.

Noting the government cannot manufacture a zoning violation by changing the rules, Attorney Ben Williams, who was involved in challenging Richland’s ordinance, said, “Citing both the Mississippi Constitution and the U.S. Constitution, the Mississippi Supreme Court reiterated its 1923 opinion that a citizen’s ‘lawful use of his property is one of the most sacred rights reserved to him under our Constitution.”’ ##

(Photo credit: MHProNews-manufactured home)

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

Mississippi U will Purchase Modular Housing for Students

July 21st, 2014 Comments off

The College Board of Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) reversed an earlier decision and decided to purchase modular housing units for students instead of leasing them because the school can sell them when they are no longer needed and recoup some of their expense, according to msbusiness.com. Higher Education Chancellor Hank Bounds says the university lost money last year renting rooms at Three Rivers Inn & Suites and the Rodeway Inn in Greenwood. Students objected to living off campus, MHProNews has learned, even though shuttles brought them to campus to eat at the university dining hall.

Chancellor Bounds says the modular housing units will help reverse declining enrollment. Costing around $900,000, the units will house 50 to 150 students, and although they will not be ready for occupancy until shortly after school stats this fall, MVSU intends to recoup $400,000 in housing fees over the next two years. ##

(Photo credit: Ferrum College Dormitory, Virginia–Mod U Kraf builders)