10/08/12 — County to eye mobile home change

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County to eye mobile home change

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 8, 2012 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Planning Board has been instructed to review and to make recommendations on a county ordinance that prohibits mobile homes 15 years and older from being set up in the county.

However, county commissioners, not the Planning Board, were responsible for the original decision on the 15-year rule, County Planner Connie Price said.

The reason for the rule was to avoid an influx of older mobile homes into the county, he said. At the time, older mobile homes were moving into Wayne County from coastal regions, which have stricter wind zones rules than Wayne County, Price said.

Also, the county has no way of verifying the condition of mobile homes purchased elsewhere before they are brought into the county, he said.

The ordinance states, "No mobile home moved into the county's jurisdiction from another county shall be hooked up to electricity if the home was built more than 15 years prior to the move. No mobile home moved within the county shall be hooked up to electricity if the home was built more than 15 years prior to the move, unless it was properly hooked up to electricity 90 days prior to the request for the new hookup."

Any changes to the ordinance would require a public hearing and approval by commissioners.

"The 15-year plan, I understand why that was put into place," Commissioner Steve Keen said. "I understand at this time that things have possibly changed."

Keen then made a motion to direct the Planning Board to revisit the rule and report back to commissioners at their first meeting in November.

Commissioner Sandra McCullen said she would like to have more information before voting for "a motion like that."

"I think sending it to the Planning Board would be the proper place," County Attorney Borden Parker said. "The Planning Board discussed it, if memory serves me correctly, about six to eight months ago and didn't take any action.

"The motion that is before you today is just directing the Planning Board to look at it and bring information and recommendations back to you."

The motion was unanimously approved.

Attorney Joe McRoberts of Strickland Law Firm, representing the Wayne County mobile Home Park Owners and Developers Association, asked for the changes during commissioners' Tuesday session.

The association is comprised of about 45 mobile home park owners, he said.

"We have submitted a proposed redrafting of the ordinance to each member of the commission as well as to county attorney Borden Parker," he said. "We have requested that it be put on the floor for discussion and potential hearing.

"It has not been put on the agenda yet so we would like to be afforded the opportunity to discuss it at the next meeting."

Mrs. McCullen said the letter she received did not include the attachment. Commissioner Ray Mayo said he had not seen it either.

McRoberts apologized, and said he would make sure the information would be sent out that afternoon.

He said the association wants the 15-year standard replaced by federal Housing and Urban Development guidelines.

"We definitely need a hearing on this," said Steve L. Herring, who spoke on behalf of the association. "It has killed our business. I have had one mobile home move in my park in the last five years since this ordinance has been fixed."

Herring said one person had been paying rent on a mobile home in Wilson County for the past six months, waiting to hear that the ordinance could be changed so that he could move his mobile home into Wayne County.

The person wants to move the structure near his church, and give it to the church so visiting preachers will have a place to stay, he said.

"There is no leeway on this ordinance," Herring said. "I have another fellow who bought two mobile homes, who lives down close to the Duplin County line. He couldn't put them there where he wanted to in Wayne County.

"So you are losing revenue. Those people who live in Wayne County, more likely will shop in Wayne County. He had to put those two mobile homes on a lot in Duplin County. I would like for this to be brought up for a hearing at the next meeting if possible."