The agreement that settled the law suit stipulated that the residents' homes would be moved to a homesite in a new community. Homes in Ryder Park were quite old, some dating back to the fifties, the newest were built in the seventies and the late 80's. Some eight foot wide homes were still in use, with the remainder being 10-12 and 14 foot wide homes in lengths up to 66'. Two homes in the community were multi-section units. Many of the homes had additions of various types, some suitable for all season occupancy and others just for warm weather use. A good number of the homes had carports, most of which were attached to the homes.
One of the first tasks in the moving process was to determine which of the homes was capable of being moved to the new location. Over a two-day period, we inspected the outside and underside of every home, noting its condition, appearance, presence of running gear and Hitches. Each home was rated on a scale of one to five based on their ability to be moved, appearance and attachments. Some of the nicest home in the community were judged to be the most difficult to move as a result of the functional year-round additions.
Examples of the various rated homes:
After a series of discussions with the developers it was decided that it would be more efficient and less expensive to offer new homes of an equivalent size to the residents who chose not to move their old home to the new community. In consultation with the homeowners' board, it was decided that each resident would have an opportunity to purchase a new home of an equivalent size to their existing home. Year-round additions would receive credit for the area of the addition and seasonal rooms were given fifty percent credit for the size of that addition. Fortunately, the City of Milford had great records of the home sizes and the additions for taxing purposes and in combination with the park records and on-site verification, a listing of each home size was compiled and offered to the residents for verification.
Selection of Manufacturer
It was my goal to show how small homes with minor aesthetic enhancements could create an attractive and inspiring community appearance. Accordingly, we prepared a set of specifications for the new homes that would be offered to three manufacturers for pricing. All new homes would be 14 feet wide and a maximum of sixty-six feet in length since moving larger homes in the state would require participating in a lottery for permits and complicate the delivery process. Homes would have shutters on the entry and street end, a picture or bay window on the street end, lap siding in a choice of colors and pitched, shingle roofs. Specifications for the heating and air conditioning systems and amount of insulation were an important part of the package in an effort to reduce future utility bills. Looking back, these were the first real Community series Homes!
Bid lists and specifications of the three manufacturers were requested and evaluated and Skyline and Castle homes were selected to supply homes, factory direct to the developer. About 150 new homes were requested by the residents. We decided the sizes and number of homes that each of the two manufacturers would produce, amounting to about 75 homes for each.
Home specifications and terms were presented to the homeowners and arrangements were made to have each manufacturer build a base model home to be set up in the existing community on successive weekends so that the residents could see the home, meet with the manufacturer representative, and select colors for interiors, exteriors and options. All residents knew prior to the meeting which size and price they were qualified to purchase.
Numerous issues came up during this process as might be expected in a complicated transaction as this one was, but with the manufacturers' cooperation and extensive communication with the residents, the home ordering process was completed. The same could not be said for the planning and approval process for the new community. That process will be discussed in my next installment.
Editor's Note: Don is a member of MH SPIRIT, MHMSM.com's team of SPeakers Instructors Resources Inspiration Training that can help you achieve YOUR community renewal. Visit mhspeakertrainer.org for more information.
Donald C. Westphal, NAHB Green Verifier. Donald C. Westphal Associates, LLC, has become one of the nation's foremost authorities on manufactured home community design: Landscape Architecture, Site Planning, Community Imaging, Marketing and Presentation.