08/24/06 — Town officials will weigh mobile home exceptions

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Town officials will weigh mobile home exceptions

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 24, 2006 1:59 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive officials are trying to find a way accommodate those who suffer hardship because of the moratorium on double-wide mobile homes.

Single and double-wide mobile homes are not allowed in the city or its extraterritorial jurisdiction unless they are in existing mobile home parks.

The Planning Board decided during a special meeting Tuesday to create an amendment to the town's zoning ordinance that would allow the town Planning Board to consider allowing new double-wides as a special use on an individual basis.

Conditions for consideration would be that the double-wides be underpinned with brick and that the owner will live in the home and owns the property on which it is placed.

Planning Board Chairman Wallace Horton appointed Gena Knode and Angel Musgrave, who are new members of the Planning Board, and veteran members Eva Hill and George Fulghum, who went through the process of creating the current zoning ordinance, to a committee to look at the possibility of an amendment. They will bring a proposal before the full Planning Board at its Sept. 12 meeting. And if approved, the amendment will go before the town board for consideration at its Oct. 2 meeting.

Fulghum said he is concerned that the Planning Board might become overwhelmed by too many people requesting special consideration.

Ms. Knode said the Planning Board worked on forming the current ordinance for more than 10 years.

"I don't want to make any changes to open the flood gate," she said. "How do you work personal hardships into a long-range plan?"

Ms. Musgrave said exceptions do come up every so often, and when there are hardship cases, she believes the Planning Board needs to look at them on an individual basis.

"I have had to have exceptions made for me on occasion," she said. "My concern is for this family that is trying to do better."

The issue arose when Deborah Faison of South Johnson Street bought a double-wide to place on land facing Breazeale Avenue where she grew up. Her home place was demolished in 1998, and she asked former zoning officer Kenny Talton what she could put on the lot. He told her she could put up a double-wide trailer on the lot.

But four years ago, the town placed the moratorium on all mobile homes expect for those coming into mobile home parks. And although the 4-year old ordinance allows for modular homes in town, Ms. Faison said they are not roomy enough and cost too much.

Four adults and a 16-month-old baby live in her single-wide mobile home on Johnson Street, where she is renting the lot for her paid-for older model home.

"We need room," she said. "It makes no sense to have land you pay tax on and you can't put nothing on it."

Lot rent on Johnson Street is $75 a month. Meanwhile, she is paying somebody to cut the grass at the vacant lots on Breazeale.

Families live in what they can afford, Ms. Faison said. Some people can pay $1,000 a month for a modular home, but she said she knows what she can afford. Payments on the home she bought are $600.

Her daughter, Yolanda Faison, said all they want is a better place to live.

Modular homes cost around $150,000, she said.

"We'd already investigated it ourselves," she said. "It's not fair that they can dictate what someone can put on their land. We didn't know (about the moratorium). And we've been living in Mount Olive all our lives."