04/22/09 — Duplin commissioners approve new, stronger mobile home ordinances

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Duplin commissioners approve new, stronger mobile home ordinances

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 22, 2009 1:46 PM

KENANSVILLE -- The Duplin County Board of Commissioners adopted new minimum housing standards Monday to close loopholes that county planner Randall Tyndall said were causing the county to become a dumping ground for substandard mobile homes.

Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the revised ordinance, replacing a 1989 version that has never been amended.

The new ordinance creates stricter codes for mobile homes.

For example, underpinning is now required and residents are no longer allowed to attach two single-wide mobile homes together.

"They're not designed for that. It's not safe," Tyndall said.

The old ordinance also didn't designate the difference between a mobile home and a stick-built house. The new one does.

"The old ordinance didn't even identify which department to call with questions. It didn't even have an index," Tyndall said.

The new ordinance addresses both concerns, as well as gives more authority to the building inspector to enforce the new code, he said.

Also under the new codes, anybody bringing a mobile home into the county will have to contact the tax office and get a tax code, which then must be taken to the Inspections Department so an inspection can be scheduled before the power can be turned on.

While the 1989 ordinance was drawn up by the Inspections Department, the new one was created by both Planning and the Inspections. Mobile home owners who want to set up in the county can call either department now. Planning can be reached at (910) 296-2102, and Building Inspections can be reached at (910) 296-2124.

Tyndall admitted that the new minimum housing standards are not as stringent as in some counties and do not address how old a mobile home can come into the county -- though an amendment to that effect was discussed, but not approved.

But he said that he believes the new code is strict enough since it looks at the condition of the structure itself.

"In my opinion, this ordinance is more stringent than Sampson County's and less than Wayne County's. Both talk about age but do not address the issue of condition," he said.

Commissioner Zettie Williams moved to adopt the revised ordinance. Commissioner Reginald Wells gave the second. The vote was unanimous, with Commissioner David Fussell making it clear he would later bring up amending the ordinance to address the issues of age and how strong mobile homes must be to withstand winds.

Tyndall said he would take those ideas before the Planning Board.

The new ordinance becomes effective on May 18.