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Posts Tagged ‘Planning Commission’

MHC Rezoned, Affordable Housing Affected

May 2nd, 2017 Comments off
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The community in question, Fayetteville, Arkansas. Credit: NWA Online.

In Fayetteville, Arkansas, a manufactured home community is scheduled to see its sunset – and community officials say that it’s a disturbing trend that’s affecting affordable housing across the nation.

According to NWA Online, the City Council approved a rezoning proposal from Dallas based real estate investors and developers Tait Coates and Tommy Kilbride, that will allow re-development of the nine acres.

 

The Niblock family, owners of the land since the late 70’s, said it’s time.

The property has passed its life expectancy,” said George Niblock Jr.

Residents own their homes and pay about $250 per month to rent their lot, but several owe back rent.”

Niblock said that he also understands that the development will displace residents, but he and the new landowners will be working to make the transition as smooth as possible.

For a few of them, it’s going to be painful. There’s no perfect answer for it,” said Niblock.

We’re going to work with them directly,” said Coates. “We will keep an open dialogue with all of the tenants.”

City planning staff sees the area as ripe for development, in part because of its vicinity to the University of Arkansas, and a mix of commercial and residential development is in line with the city’s infill goals.

 

Challenges, Authority, Stigma

With redevelopment, comes the challenge of a loss of affordable housing, which is a major goal of the city’s 2030 plan.

Prior to approval for the rezoning, the Fayetteville Planning Commission asked council members to address the issue of gentrification in some way.

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Credit: Google.

City Attorney Kit Williams told the council that the city has limited authority and a landowner can utilize their property as they see fit, as long as they follow the zoning rules and lease agreements with residents.

I don’t know how we could do that [deal with the issue of gentrification] without taking away some of the property interest rights of the landlord and probably having to pay him for it,” said Williams.

There’s not anything I’m aware of, especially no ordinances we might have that would do anything that would be able to slow down what the landlord might be wanting to do.”

Williams also says that he’s seen the trend of communities disappearing over the years.

Trailer parks [sic] have disappeared throughout town with no proposals to replace them. I think this is due to rising property value within the city limits and the deteriorating nature of a manufactured home’s value,” said Williams.

City planning director Andrew Garner sees the issue as well.

I can’t recall in a dozen years with the city a single instance of a developer wanting to build a trailer park [sic],” said Garner.

A resident could place a mobile home [sic] on his property if it’s zoned as a Residential Agricultural district, but a trailer park [sic] requires a multi-family zoning, and even then it would only be allowed as a conditional use.”

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A video still from an unrelated Fayetteville City Council meeting. Credit: The Advocate.

A part of that challenge is in the stereotypes that persist.

Credit: MHI.

The trend in Fayetteville mimics what’s been happening nationally,” said MHI spokeswoman Patti Boerger.

The country hasn’t seen many new manufactured home communities developed in the past couple decades, but landowners with several acres sometimes place mobile homes on their properties. Manufactured and mobile homes today run the gamut of floor plans and typically are made with the same materials as on-site homes, all at far lower a cost.”

Boerger shared that tiny homes have also become more popular, but Kevin Hawks, owner of Hawks Homes, sees them as a fad.

They attract attention, but usually once customers do the math they figure they can get a better value with a single-wide trailer [sic],” said Hawks.

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A Hawks Home model. Credit: Hawks Homes.

You can drive through anywhere in east Arkansas and you can still see the old metal siding and metal roofs with tires on top to keep the roof from rumbling — what I call a trailer house [sic]. That is not what we build. I don’t even build metal-siding, metal-roof houses anymore. But, a lot of people have that stigma.”

For some members of the Fayetteville City Council, manufactured housing represents the solution to affordable housing.

It does offer home ownership to individuals who otherwise may not be able to afford it,” said Alderman Mark Kinion.

As long as it meets codes and standards and as long as it is compatible.”

For more on the myths and facts surrounding manufactured housing, and the opportunity for millions to achieve the American Dream of home ownership, 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.

NIMBY in Action – Commission Delays Zoning Ordinance

April 12th, 2017 Comments off
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Nimby comic credit as shown, used here under fair use guidelines.

The Mt. Vernon, Illinois Zoning and Planning Commission has once again tabled conversation on a proposed zoning change that would clear the way for a manufactured home community.

According to the Register News, the decision came after a two-and-a-half hour hearing, which featured a number of residents speaking out against the proposed location.

I’m talking about green-space, people,” said Dianne Klein.

You guys are the zoning board. We are not going to get any more green-space back if you let this development go through. … We don’t want residential. We don’t care if they’re million dollar houses. We want green-space out there.”

The City Council also recently tabled discussions on the proposed community, to work on further establishing guidelines around what would happen to an adjacent park.

Developers Rob Berneking and Andrew Edwards are currently in discussions to purchase the property for the community, and they provided a detailed presentation on the project during the commission meeting.

We are ready, willing and able to develop this project. … The extensive history of managing manufactured home communities gives our group unrivaled experience in quality control, HUD installation, property maintenance, and customer satisfaction.”

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Credit: Google.

At least one member of the audience disagreed.

I object to the stats that have been cited here that indicate manufactured homes perform as well as regular homes during storms,” said audience member Mindy Goss.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, officials, news agencies and the general public continue to specifically point out manufactured homes and communities – often identified incorrectly as “mobile homes” and “mobile home parks” – vs. site-built homes in damage reports.

On average, about 1 in 5 structures identified as “mobile homes” by the media are in fact pre-HUD code mobile homes.  They are routinely the ones that suffer the most damage, because HUD Code manufactured homes are more durable by design.

Zoning board members referenced a petition signed by 438 people objecting to the proposed location of the manufactured home community during the meeting, and the zoning board approved a motion to table the matter until the revised city ordinance regulating manufactured home communities is adopted.

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Danny Feagin. Credit: Aiken Standard.

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.

Considering everything presented, we feel that our project is clearly the highest and best use for the subject property,” said Berneking.##

 

(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.

Proposal to Keep Manufactured Housing Out Sent Back to Planning Commission

January 17th, 2017 Comments off
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Nimby comic credit as shown, used here under fair use guidelines.

In another case of NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard), a South Carolina County Council is asking for more clarity.

The Aiken County Council has sent a proposed rezoning back to the planning commission to review alternate zoning of some or all of the area.

According to the Aiken Standard, last month the County Council passed the first of three readings on a proposed amendment to the Aiken County Official Zoning and Development District to rezone 362 tax parcels, or approximately 1,935 acres.

The Council decided this month to continue second reading on the ordinance until its Feb. 21 meeting to allow for review of alternate plans.

The reason that residents wanted to rezone the area? The potential for a large manufactured home community.

ProposaltoKeepManufacturedHousingOutSentBacktoPlanningCommissioncreditAikenStandard-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Stephen Strohminger. Credit: Aiken Standard.

The reason residents wanted to rezone the area is to keep mobile home parks [sic] out,” said Aiken County Planning Director Stephen Strohminger.

Residents in the area had reached out to former County Councilwoman LaWana McKenzie and District 3’s new representative Councilman Danny Feagin, concerned with the possibility of a large, manufactured home park.

They wanted some protection,” said Strohminger.

Strohminger shared that Residential Use Zoning (RD) limits the uses to single-family and multifamily residential, including manufactured homes but not manufactured home communities. It also included crops, bed and breakfast inns, day cares, and uses complimentary to residential such as parks, churches, elementary schools, utilities, and police/fire.

During the council meeting, Strohminger said Rural Development District (RUD) zoning allows for manufactured home communities.

ProposaltoKeepManufacturedHousingOutSentBacktoPlanningCommissioncreditAikenStandard2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Danny Feagin. Credit: Aiken Standard.

When asked how the residents would feel regarding potential zoning changes, Councilman Feagin provided an ominous answer.

As long as it keeps the mobile home parks [sic] out, I think the folks would be satisfied,” said Feagin.

 

Potential MH Impact 

As readers of the Daily Business News may be aware, South Carolina has the highest percentage of manufactured housing in the U.S., with nearly 19 percent of all housing in the state falling into the MH category.

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Ed Schafer. Credit: MHISC.

The potential zoning actions by Aiken County could have far reaching impact.

For the last three or four years, the South Carolina association’s focus is to move beyond killing bad zoning proposals and working to reopen areas that have been closed to manufactured homes for many years,” said Ed Schafer, Government Affairs Director for the Manufactured Housing Institute of SC.

In some areas it’s been easy. Progressive planning officials in several towns have been very interested in using manufactured homes for ‘urban’ infill.

You can find the full commentary from Schafer and others on zoning linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

City Council Tables Manufactured Home Ordinance, Industry Pro Speaks Out

December 9th, 2016 Comments off
CityCouncilTablesMHOrdinanceIndustryProSpeaksOutcredit-StuttgartDailyLeader-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Stuttgart Daily Leader.

The Stuttgart, Arkansas City Council voted to table Ordinance 1943 during a December 6th meeting. While the feeling is that more clarity is needed, the stakes could be incredibly high.

The Stuttgart Daily Leader reports that the proposed ordinance, recommended by the Stuttgart Planning Commission, would amend the code to read that a manufactured home is defined as “a detached dwelling unit factory built in the United States to the HUD Title 6 construction standards, which took effect June 15, 1976 bearing a red HUD certification label or its successor label on the outside of the dwelling.

Other identifying factors of a manufactured home include a HUD data plate affixed inside the dwelling on or near the main electrical breaker box, or other readily visible location and/or a permanent chassis. Any factory built dwelling containing the HUD certification label or its successor label on the outside of the dwelling can only be classified as a manufactured home.

HUD Label

HUD Label.

For modular homes, they would be defined as “a factory assembled or prefabricated detached dwelling unit built and conforming to local and state codes for the City of Stuttgart, other than the manufactured home construction standards as set forth in the manufactured home definition herein, consisting of two or more modules designed for permanent attachment to make one dwelling. Other identifying factors of a modular home include a removable chassis frame.

The call for clarity was raised by the planning commission due to a number of discussions regarding a manufactured home that was placed in a zone where manufactured homes are not currently allowed by local officials.

There’s nothing that can be done about that home,” said Alderman Joe Rhine. “The new definitions would prevent a similar incident.

I think it needs some more clarity,” said Alderman Teddy Holt.

A Different View

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Credit: Stuttgart Daily Leader, MHProNews.

This action by the city – like most others we encounter – is a reaction to the response of residents to a factory-built home being placed in a residential zone,” said J.D. Harper, Executive Director of the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA).

City officials look at the placement of the home as a mistake – something that should be remedied and not allowed to happen again – rather than as the right of a resident to exercise his/her housing choice on land that is zoned for single-family housing.”

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Homes like this are among those that the City of Stuttgart is seeking to restrict. Photo credit, Sunshine Homes and ManufacturedHomes.com.

To rephrase, what Harper is saying is that Stuttgart is trying to use definitions as a tool to effect NIMBY.

In a detailed, exclusive to MHProNews, Harper suggests that HUD is the ultimate source of this growing issue.

With 500 cities and incorporated towns in Arkansas – it is increasingly difficult for a one-person staff to keep up with all of the ordinances and regulations being enforced by local governments,” Harper said.

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Credit: MHProNews.

The AMHA is currently a one-person office.  That one is J.D. Harper.

He pointed out the challenges and opportunities, as well as how manufactured homes are viewed by local cities and towns in their state.

While Arkansas does have a law that prohibits cities from banning manufactured homes or restricting their placement to only leased-land in parks or communities – most cities view factory-built structures through the same prism as billboards, cell towers and sexually-oriented businesses… something to be avoided if at all possible, but restricted and heavily regulated if allowed at all.

Harper is far from alone in stating his concerns.

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Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

Earlier this year, in an exclusive to MHLivingNews, Jay Hamilton, the executive director of the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association, said: “The one issue that will prohibit affordable housing in the future — not only manufactured homes, but site-built — is local zoning and covenants.”

Texas retailer Gary Adamak thinks the zoning issue is bigger and more harmful than the challenges caused by the Dodd-Frank act. Describing battles with cities and

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More of Gary Adamek’s and other’s comments can the NIMBY war can be found at the link here.

towns in his state, “…some will simply pass ordinances that flatly prohibit manufactured homes,” says Adamek. “They don’t even have to get fancy about it.”

It’s a place where people have birthdays, Christmas, they raise their kids. It’s not a manufactured house — it’s a home,” said Scott Cannon, national sales manager of a Clayton Homes manufacturing facility in Waco, TX.

Or as Diane Mack said about her new manufactured home and land, I want my own property where I can raise my grandkids like I was raised.

I’ve told many city officials that I don’t believe that manufactured homes belong on every lot in every zone in every town – but I DO believe there are MANY lots in MANY towns which restrict manufactured homes where a factory-built residence would provide access to decent, affordable housing for working Arkansans — without having an adverse impact on surrounding property values or the quality of life in that neighborhood,” Harper’s said.  His full commentary is linked here.

The Stuttgart council voted to table the ordinance until the Dec. 20 meeting, to receive clarity from the Planning Commission on definitions.

The Daily Business News has covered this growing issue, including federal preemption to allow a manufactured home to be sited. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

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.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

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
bouldercityplanningcommissionapprovesrezoningofmobilehomeparkcreditkntv2-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrydailybusinessnewsmhpronews

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.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Manufactured Home Sited Illegally in Arkansas

June 18th, 2016 Comments off

manufactured_home__george_west_texas__kristv.com__crditA manufactured home has been sited in Stuttgart, Arkansas in an area zoned residential R-2, which does not allow manufactured homes (MH), creating a conundrum for the Stuttgart City Council. At an April 19 meeting Code Enforcement Officer Gary Norris said the home was modular and meets the city building standards. No building permit was issued for the home, as stuttgartdailyleader informs MHProNews.

Now, the mayor and two commissioners agreed they cannot ask the owner to move the home, but they want to remedy this problem, and develop ordinances and regulations to prevent this from happening in the future.

At a special meeting Thurs., June 16, called to discuss this MH, City Council Vice Chairman Phillip Edwards said, “I don’t think we can rezone his particular property — I think we’re going to have to rezone the whole area that he sits on unless he petitions us.

Mayor J. W. Green said he will ask Norris to review a zoning map so he can offer the planning commission suggestions about rezoning and avoiding this predicament in the future. Commissioner Lana Roth agreed that the planning commission would likely need to make amendments to their rules and regulations.

Another meeting is scheduled for Tue., June 28 to further discuss the issue, although Norris will present his recommendations at a later date, with a voting date set then. ##

(Photo credit: kristv–manufactured home in George West, Texas)

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

City Council Rejects Current Plan for Manufactured Home Community Expansion

July 28th, 2015 Comments off

mh foreclosure   gfhomesandland creditFollowing a story MHProNews last posted June 25, 2015 regarding a request for expansion of a manufactured home community (MHC) on what was once part of the Southgate Estates MHC in Bloomington, Illinois, the city council denied the proposal. Although the planning commission had recommended approval, the city council voted unanimously to reject the PMO Properties plan until issues dealing with storm water and the sewer system are resolved.

Southgate was in foreclosure in 2011 when the property was split into two parcels and sold to two different owners, according to pantagraph. Most of what was Southgate is now called Cardinal Ridge, and is owned by Jay Oades, who says water from PMO floods his community after a storm and fills up a drainage pond.

PMO currently has four manufactured homes and space for 30 more homes. The council says it would not approve the expansion until there is a written signed agreement between the two owners. ##

(Photo credit: gfhomesandland–manufactured home)

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

Plans for Manufactured Home Community Expansion on Hold

June 25th, 2015 Comments off

pine aire  dustin franz athens newsThe Bloomington (IL) Planning Commission recommended City Council approve a plan for a manufactured home community (MHC) to expand on an eight-acre site that was once part of the Southgate Estates Mobile Home Park. After a foreclosure in 2011, Southgate was split into two parcels, and the larger one became Cardinal Ridge, owned by Jay Oades, according to pantagraph.

Submitted by Robert Reuwert’s PMO Properties Manufactured Mobile Home Park, the eight acre site already has four MH on it with space for 30 additional homesites, as MHProNews has learned. The site plan has been pending while the two owners try to come to an agreement about storm water draining into Cardinal Ridge from PMO, and maintenance of storm sewers.

But Oades said his property cannot handle additional drainwater coming from PMO, and that residents already complain about standing water after a rainstorm. Duane Yockey, PMO’s engineer, said he thinks the backup is due to silt buildup on the Cardinal side. Oades has called for an engineering study to determine the possible impact of more drainage if PMO adds more homes. ##

(Photo credit: athensnews/Dustin Franz–Pine Aire MHC)

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

 

Church in a Modular Building? Not In Our Neighborhood!

January 19th, 2015 Comments off

church-denied-modular-building-thomaston-georgiaResidents of a subdivision in Thomaston, Georgia, indicated they did not want a modular building that would “temporarily” house a church congregation in their neighborhood.  Others said they did not want a church in their neighborhood at all.

This controversy centers around a request from a church group to put a modular building on a vacant lot prior to constructing a sanctuary onsite.  The issue was addressed at a packed house meeting of the Upson County Planning Commission. Both those for and against the issue were in attendance.

The House of Prayer Baptist Church petitioned the commission for a special exception to allow them to place a modular building on the property prior to building a permanent worship facility. The commission also received a petition signed by residents in the neighborhood stating they were against the building being placed on the property for fear it would causean eyesore in the subdivision.”

The Thomaston Times  tells MHProNews  that during the public hearing on the matter, the planning commission heard from Glenn Peterson, pastor for the House of Prayer Baptist Church. He explained that the church’s goal was to build a permanent structure on the property in the next three to five years. In the meantime, however, the church needed a place to meet until their membership increased.  Currently, there are approximately 45 people in the congregation. Pastor Peterson stated he believed if the church could grow to 80 members, they would be able to raise the funding to build a church large enough to hold 200 members.

I’ve done this before, and I’m not talking without experience,” he said, telling how he had helped the Northside Baptist Church build a new $1.3 million facility within four years. “I’m confident that within the next three to five years we can have a structure on the property. That is our goal and our vision,” he explained. “Proverbs 29 says ‘without a vision, the people will perish.’ We’ve got a vision, but we just need you to allow us to do that, and that is what we are asking for.”

The congregation’s plans until that could happen are to purchase the property and place a modular building on it to serve as the church meeting hall. Peterson stated they would enhance the exterior of the 1,900 square foot metal building by adding vinyl siding, a foyer to the front and a steeple so that it would look like a church. However, when asked if he had any pictures depicting the changes or architectural plans for the future structure, he said he did not.

Commissioner Mike Raines stated that he felt the building was still a trailer,” no matter what was added to the exterior. Pastor Peterson noted that the building was a commercial building and not set up like a mobile home.

Planning Commission Chairman Freddie Harp asked those in the meeting who had signed the petition to clarify if they were against the church facing Laramie Drive or if they were against it all together. Speaking on behalf of the neighborhood, one woman stated that the group did not approve of a church being in their residential area. Another resident added that they are against the modular building because there is no guarantee that in five years there will be a beautiful church building built on the property.”

After taking all the comments into consideration, the commission voted to deny the special exception to place a modular building on the property.  “At the end of the day, the hindrance is that it is a modular building being set up in a neighborhood that has been established in Upson County for 60-75 years. That’s the problem, Planning Commission member Andrew Pippin explained. ##

(Photo Credit: Thomaston Times)

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Article Submitted by Sandra Lane to – Daily Business News- MHProNews.