12/02/04 — Rules being planned to boost housing standards in Wayne

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Rules being planned to boost housing standards in Wayne

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on December 2, 2004 2:01 PM

Wayne government officials are considering setting minimum housing standards that could include prohibiting mobile homes built before 1976 being brought into the county.

The board has also been asked to consider standards for conventional housing after an emergency services official spoke of people living in dangerous conditions.

The Wayne County Planning Board is scheduled Dec. 14 to review a proposed ordinance that would set standards for manufactured homes.

It also would mandate some appearance criteria, such as skirting or foundations, that would apply to both new homes and ones that are already here.

Any vote by the Planning Board would be a recommendation to the county commissioners, who would have to hold a public hearing before acting.

The Planning Board also intends to propose an ordinance that would set some minimum standards for all housing. Blair Tyndall, director of the county's emergency medical services, urged Planning Board members this week to take this additional step.

The county's emergency workers often find people living in dangerous, dilapidated structures, Tyndall told the board's manufactured housing committee. Homes often lack proper plumbing or electrical connections.

He recalled a fire that heavily damaged a house in the Belfast community. "It was unlivable, in my opinion," he said. "My eyes were burning and I was standing outside."

But the power had not been disconnected and the resident wanted to stay, Tyndall said. "Without a minimum housing standard, we had no power to evict him."

Luckily, the Salvation Army offered the resident a place to stay, Tyndall said. "I don't know that he would have lived through the night."

Planning Board members assured Tyndall that they intend to look at minimum housing codes after they complete the manufactured housing ordinance. They asked Planning Director Connie Price to research what's required in surrounding counties.

The proposed manufactured housing rules are based on those passed in Johnston and Harnett counties. They include:

*No mobile home would be allowed to be moved into Wayne County if it was manufactured before July 1, 1976, which is when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development set a construction code.

*If older homes are already in the county, they could remain, be moved or sold as long they meet the other terms of the ordinance.

*Exterior siding must be in good condition, complete, not damaged or loose. If homes are painted, the paint must be in good condition.

*Homes must have a brick curtain wall, ABS plastic color skirting with interlocking edges (keylocked) or PVC painted metal approved skirting installed around the perimeter of the home. The Planning Board is recommending that the skirting be installed within 60 days of occupancy.

*All windows and doors must be intact and in working condition.

The Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, in the Administration Building, 209 S. William St., Goldsboro.