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“Economic Racism.” Angry Residents, Students, Civic Leaders Fight Plan to Ban Affordable Manufactured Homes, Industry Professionals Sound Off

April 9th, 2019 Comments off

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The proposed action by the City of Bryan is an unvarnished and discriminatory attack against lower and moderate-income citizens who rely on manufactured homes as affordable, non-subsidized housing.  The proposal is seriously misguided at best, as noted by Tony Kovach and Lance Inderman, and stands in direct conflict with the legitimate goals and objectives of federal law, which supports the unfettered availability of manufactured housing for ALL Americans.  The City would be well-advised to be extremely cautious about taking any such ill-advised step.”

 

Mark Weiss, JD,

President & CEO

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

 

 

The local NBC affiliate, KAGS news video, posted below, tee’s up for newcomers to this topic the painful and politically charged controversy.

 

 

Attorney and MHARR leader Mark Weiss’ words about the importance of not overstepping the federal government’s authority under the provision of “enhanced preemptiontakes on a new meaning and urgency when read in the light of the written statements of the residents of Bryan, TX.

 

 

KBTX 3 from Bryan provided the video above which likewise helps frame the events unfolding there.  One civic leader who called the Daily Business News on MHProNews yesterday said that the city’s planning and zoning (P&Z) and some municipal officials were “lying to the people” of Bryan about the proposed plan to ban inherently affordable manufactured homes.  While he didn’t elaborate, long-time MHProNews readers are aware of cases in various parts of the country where special interests encouraged local leaders to help them profit from thinly-veiled or hidden agendas.

 

Frustrated, Angry, Pleading Residents of Bryan Sound-Off to Protect Their Right to Affordable Manufactured Homes

What follows are a series of quotes from letters and messages by residents to city officials in Bryan.  They were provided by a civic leader to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, and each comment is in response to their municipality’s planned ban on manufactured housing in areas of the city that are currently allowed.

Among those residents of Bryan, Texas protesting a planned ban on manufactured homes is a former American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) member. The AICP is a designation from the American Planning Association’s professional institute.

Robin Rabinowitz wrote to the City of Bryan to say the following.

 

RobinRabinowitzBryanCollegeStationTX-CityPlannerMasterUrbanPlanningAICPManufacturedHomeBan

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Dimple Susebery wrote to say she is “…totally against…” the proposed ban.  Another frustrated resident and local businessman made his case as follows.

 

HowardHillManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnerBryanTXProposedBanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Ms. G. Wade wrote the city, with a gut-wrenching plea that finished with, “...please take the time to think of the people who will end up with nothing.”

 

MsGWadeCastleHeightsBryanTXProposedMobileManufacturedHomeBanPeopleWillEndUpWithNothingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

 

I’m a black male,” said Jonathan Jackson in his typed message to municipal officials. Jackson said, “…we pay taxes, what’s up with our rights…” Jackson said he doesn’t earn a lot of money, who are you [i.e.: city officials] to tell us we can’t buy a mobile home?

 

JonathanJacksonBryanMobileManufacturedHomeBanPlanBlackMaleWhoAreYouToTellUsWeCantGetMobileHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Charles Nelson and Hendrix Nelson said it was a right and a need for some to choose the affordable manufactured housing option.

 

CharlesNelsonHendrixNelsonBryanmobilemanufacturedhomebanDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Missy King, President of the Bryan-College Station Regional Association of Realtors, said that the city would be diminishing the supply of affordable housing if this plan is passed. King said that there were numerous unintended consequences such a move could yield.

 

BryanCollegeStationMissyKingProposedMobileManufacturedHomeBanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

A self-described investor in manufactured homes – who’s letter had the typed name “Mark Smith” – was essentially alone in arguing for the ban among the messages provided to MHProNews.  Smith’s comments are apparently self-serving ones, as he says he is only for manufactured homes being placed in manufactured home communities – which a local source said he owns at least one. Smith’s letter says not even new manufactured homes should be allowed on the hundreds of sites in the city presently vacant, lots where federally preemptive HUD Code manufactured homes would be welcomed under current law if this city ordinance is defeated.  His message can be read along with all others provided to MHProNews, at this link here.

Robert Patten in an apparent email to city officials said, “We pay for it [our property, our manufactured home], we should always own it. I’m for the American way. God bless the USA.”

RobertPattenWePayForItThisIsUSAGodBlessUSABryanTXMObileManufacturedHomeBanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

In another message, Patten wrote city officials to say he felt that their constitutionally protected rights were being violated by the city’s planned policy.  That raises a point that too few ponder, because public officials must take an oath of office, that routinely includes the pledge to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

 

RobertPattenConstitutionalArgumentPropertyRightsBryanTXPlanBanMobileManufacturedHOmesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Elaine Washington blasted the city fathers for not building very good conventional housing, while defending her family’s right to own a manufactured home on their own land.

 

ElaineWashingtonBryanTXMobileManufacturedHomebanOppositionDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

 

Economic Racism?

A local source that looked at records of those who owned a HUD Code manufactured home or pre-HUD Code mobile home in Bryan said that well over half appeared to be a minority, based upon their surnames.

Several members of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) sounded off to MHProNews off the record. Lance Inderman, as Mark Weiss’ quote above indicated, sounded off on-the-record to the City of Bryan, as well as to the various nonprofits, media, and other public officials to whom Kovach’s letter was emailed.

 

Inderman wrote, “To Bryan City Officials and All Others in this thread.

I’m a former long time serving board member and chairman of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) and a partner in Jessup Manufactured Housing and Platinum Cottages who both build manufactured homes here in Texas. We have a retailer who sells our homes in Bryan, so we are definitely an interested party.

That disclaimer noted, as a lover of free enterprise and limited government, I would largely concur with what Tony has written. 

Thank you, 

Lance Inderman.”

 

Inderman is part of the self-proclaimed “MH Militia.”  A photo of the “militia” below was taken in Tunica, MS recently at the industry trade show there.

 

LanceIndermanDonnieBrewerIndermanFamilyMobileHomeMilitiaMHMilitaMemberPhotoTunicaMS3272019MHProNews600

 

 

Letter Cited MHARR, Federal, NAR, Other Sources

As Weiss’ comments indicated, MHProNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach sent a detailed letter to Bryan’s mayor, city attorney, and city council members. The 10-page document addressed to Bryan was sent via email, and included CCs and BCCs to several:

 

  • nonprofits,
  • manufactured home industry members from firms of all sizes,
  • industry associations that ought to be involved,
  • federal and state officials,
  • along with mainstream media,
  • attorneys, and others.

 

The letters, messages and pull-quotes from Bryan residents shown above were sent to MHProNews by a Bryan civic leader who heard about Kovach’s letter.

Apparent Hispanic, African American, and Anglo ethnic group members were among those the weighed in via email and/or by phone to MHProNews about their frustrations there.

Among those who called or emailed MHProNews, some took the time to express their thanks to Weiss, Inderman, and Kovach for their help in battling for the rights of the city’s residents.

Some of those who contacted this trade media platform indicated they had heard about the 10-page letter from Kovach to the City of Bryan that Weiss and Inderman referenced, but had not yet seen it. They asked for copies to be emailed to them.

A Hispanic caller said he planned to be at the council meeting Tuesday night, and he wanted that 10-page letter for potential use with city officials. Tony Kovach stated in his email to that resident the following:

 

If you look carefully at the attached, it debunks their economic arguments, and also makes the legal cases for why what the City of Bryan is doing is – IMHO – illegal.  It violates federal law.”

 

That document from Kovach is linked here. It is laced with third-party and legal references.  It explains why what some city leaders in Bryan hope to achieve could backfire, as Seattle and other cities that didn’t protect affordable homes and manufactured housing had painfully discovered.

ICYMI, or have not yet seen the sobering story “Seattle is Dying,” that viral video and related report can be accessed at the hot-linked text-image box below.  In a nutshell, a lack of affordable housing was forcing growing numbers into tents, cars, or cardboard boxes. Residential and commercial properties had their sidewalks lined up with those homeless. Despair, drugs, addiction, and crime are among the vicious cycle of tragic outcomes of not having sufficient numbers and price-points affordable homes.

 

 

Beyond referencing the point that city leaders were essentially deciding between conventional homes sitting side-by-side with either manufactured homes or tents and boxes of the homeless, Tony Kovach also made two legal arguments based upon federal law. One cited “enhanced preemption,” and linked a report on the federal preemption topic from the MHARR website.

Another legal argument made in the letter to Bryan was the principle of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).

Among the off-the-record discussions by phone and via messages from sources in Texas were statements that to the effect that if the city leaders in Bryan errantly pass their proposed manufactured home ban, that legal action should follow. Indeed, some of the linked non-profits already have a track record of such suits, successful ones.

 

Bryan City Officials

While Bryan’s city officials have not formally acknowledged they have the 10-page document from Kovach, a similar shorter summary was faxed by MHProNews to various city officials days ago, and fax confirmations noted that those transmissions were received. Furthermore, some of those who called or emailed MHProNews said that they learned about the Weiss, Inderman, and Kovach emails from city sources.

So, there is no plausible doubt that the City of Bryan has the messages from Weiss, Inderman, and Kovach.

The Kovach letter to Bryan city officials noted that a student activist group he addressed in a separate memo – the Young Dems of BCS – are also busily trying to stop the ban against manufactured homes. See more about the Young Dems in the downloadable item linked here.

 

Bryan City Council Meets Tonight

Sources on the ground in Bryan tell MHProNews that they will report back on what occurs Tuesday night at the council meeting. Stay tuned.

As thousands of regular MHProNews readers know, prior outreaches to two other cities in recent months that included MHARR’s Mark Weiss and Tony Kovach resulted in both of those cities saying they were stopping their planned restrictions on manufactured homes. One city formally thanked MHProNews and MHARR for their input.

See those examples of successfully halted scenarios in the related reports, below the byline, offers, and notices.

The front-lines for the vexing zoning wars in the U.S. today are centered in Bryan, TX. That’s this morning’s edition of “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing.” © where “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.

Dramatic Reversal, City Passes Urgency Ordinance Effectively Banning Manufactured Homes, Front & Back Stories

Democrats, Republicans Agree – “Manufactured Homes Can Play a Vital Role in Easing” the Affordable Housing Shortage

Rumble over Anti-MH Law-State Association, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, and MHARR

Money, Minorities, Manufactured Homes – Foiling the American Dream of Affordable Housing

 

“Time to Enforce the Law on Federal Preemption”

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manufactured Housing Community Helps to House Students

April 28th, 2017 Comments off
ManufacturedHousingCommunityHelpstoHouseStudentscreditTroyVillages-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Inside of the Troy Villages homes. Credit: Troy Village.

As the messages about the quality, affordability and efficiency of manufactured housing continues to make its way into the mainstream, more and more groups are taking a deeper look.

That also goes for colleges and universities.

According to TropNews, Troy Villages at Walnut Creek, which provides off campus housing for Troy University in Troy, Alabama, is already utilizing manufactured homes to help with the flood of students looking for housing due to Troy’s increasing enrollments.

The university has the capacity to house 2,348 students in its residence halls, including in the fraternity and sorority houses,” said Sara Jo Burks, assistant director of housing and residence life.

We have not started the wait list for returning students. We won’t start that until the first week of May.”

And Troy Villages is preparing to fill that gap.

We prepared to buy 100 mobile homes [sic] if necessary,” said Todd Swindall, co-owner of Troy Villages.

We currently have several new mobile homes [sic] but have space for at least 50 more mobile homes [sic] without issue. We are prepared to house as many students as we can. We are not limited to how many mobile homes [sic] we can put in.”

ManufacturedHousingCommunityHelpstoHouseStudentscreditGoogle-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Google.

Co-Owner Brad Jones agrees, and says the plan is to continue to grow the community as more students become interested.

We just wanted to do so much more,” said Jones. “We saw this as an opportunity to work with the university to help students.”

Swindall says that all of the homes are being bought new and are fully furnished.

Monthly rates for the homes range from $325 per month for shared rooms, to $500 for single rooms. All rents include water, power, sewage, internet, cable, garbage pickup and lawn care, in addition to a CrossFit Gym and a soccer field.

 

The Solution, Hiding in Plain Sight

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Credit: MHLivingNews.

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.

The ability to significantly cut down on production time, provide a high quality product to federal standards, all at a lower price point serves as the ideal solution to inventory and housing challenges. The titans of business recognize the opportunity as well, as giants and independents alike are actually “doubling down” on the industry.

ELS Chairman Sam Zell has been famously quoted as correcting misconceptions about the industry, saying during this interview, “Everyone calls them trailer parks. Pencil head, it’s not a trailer park.

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, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

University Students Develop, Build Tiny Home Design

January 31st, 2017 Comments off
UniversityStudentsTackleTinyHomecreditMHLivingNews-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: MHLivingNews.

Students at Norwich University in Vermont have taken affordable housing into their own hands, by developing the CASA (Creating Affordable Sustainable Architecture) 802, a 324-square-foot micro home that provides sustainable housing for people from all income levels.

In a conversation with MHProNews and MHLivingNews, Norwich University Professor Tolya Stonorov shared that this particular prototype micro home is built to IBC (International Building Code) standards, and that the school’s focus is on affordable housing for people in Vermont.

Our next iteration will be even more locally sourced due to our partnership with a local mill. Our aim is not to just build one or two of these. We hope to partner with a manufacturer who could produce these homes that would allow us to reach out to the larger community,” said Stonorov.

One of the concepts behind our work is you could plug in secondary or tertiary modules as the family grows or the housing situation changes.

For the full story on MHLivingNews, click 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.

Numerous Students Built Cape Cod Modular Home

June 1st, 2015 Comments off

portland maine two story modular students pressherald Frank Kehoe  creditA four-bedroom, two-story, Cape Cod modular house built by dozens of high school students at Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) over the course of four academic years was finally sold and sited on the new owners foundation in Durham, Maine. A couple moving back from out of state purchased the home for the cost of materials the school had spent, $38,263.00, not counting the cost of the land, the site preparation and the moving expense.

Frank Kehoe, carpentry instructor at PATHS in Portland, Maine, said second-year carpentry and plumbing students at the school did the work with the help of electrical students from a nearby vocational school. The project took four years because funding came in slowly, according to pressherald. Turn Key Homes transported the modules for the home and set it on its foundation, as MHProNews has learned. In the past, PATHS students have constructed smaller ranch-style homes. ##

(Photo credit: pressherald/Frank Kehoe-students stand in front of modular Cape Cod home that took four years to build.)

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

ACT Modular home being sold through sealed bids

September 1st, 2011 Comments off

ACT_Logo_CampusExplorerRegisterHerald reports that students from Beckley, West Virgina Academy of Careers and Technology (ACT) put their training to work by building an actual modular home that will be auctioned through a sealed bid. Principal Charles Pack said “Not only do they learn about it, they are able to actually build a house and know they are doing exactly what they are going to do in their careers.” Previous academy-made homes can be seen in the community, including a dentist’s office. Building and trades instructor Van Carr said, “It gives them the real, hands-on experience. They get to work with other classes and are never assigned to work with the same student twice. They have to learn to be able to work with different personalities and be able to get along.” Students are expected to work within a time limit, as they would on a real job site. This modular home has special touches added by the students. Carr had his second-year students pick out all the fixtures, flooring and trim. The students chose to use Berber carpet and oak hardwood flooring. The modular house is 1,248 square feet with three bedrooms, a living room, combination kitchen and dining room, utility room and two full baths. The kitchen has an island, stove, side-by-side refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, oak cabinets and stainless steel sink.

(Graphic credit: ACT Logo)