12/19/12 — Mobile home public hearing postponed

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Mobile home public hearing postponed

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 19, 2012 1:46 PM

A scheduled Tuesday morning public hearing on a proposal to eliminate Wayne County's ban on mobile homes older than 15 years had to be canceled because of a glitch in providing public notice of the hearing.

The hearing was to have been advertised in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks, but the county Planning Department provided the incorrect publication dates.

Commissioners struck the hearing from their Tuesday agenda, but still allowed supporters of the measure to speak during the 10 a.m. public comment portion of the meeting.

The board also rescheduled the hearing for Jan. 8 at 9:15 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders told commissioners there are other issues that need attention while they ponder what to do about the ban.

Winders said he was familiar with, and did not have any problem with the ban.

"My problem is that I would like to see some rules in place for mobile homes, and I also heard subdivisions today, different aspects of it," Winders said. "Just food for thought, the Mobile Home Association gets together and looks at some rules and regulations that they have."

There already is a county ordinance about visible address signs for the mobile homes, he said. Still some cannot be found because they are not properly marked, Winders said.

Many of the mobile home park owners are "good people," but as with any organization "you have a few bad apples," he said.

"We have some that have terrible mobile home parks," he said. "I won't say how terrible, but they allow things to go on. They don't regulate them. They are after the all-mighty dollar. We see that in the Sheriff's Office.

"At some point in time I would like for you to look at some of our ordinances that need to be addressed. I get calls on a regular basis. We need to revisit our noise ordinance. Shootings in these subdivisions and mobile home parks, that is a call that we get regularly. It is very difficult to explain to the citizens that there is very little that we can do."

Winders told commissioners he would like for them to think about those issues while studying the 15-year rule. He also emphasized that he was not singling out mobile home parks, but was talking about subdivisions as well.

The Wayne County Mobile Home Park Developers Association wants the county to eliminate the ban and several of its members attended Tuesday meeting for the public hearing. Also at the meeting were attorney Billy Strickland, who is representing the group, and Brad Lovin of the N.C. Manufactured and Modular Homebuilders Association.

The group opposes a provision of the 2006 minimum setup standards for mobile homes ordinance that capped the age at 15 years for mobile homes that were being moved into the county and the used ones that were being moved within the county.

Mobile homes in the county that are more than 15 years old cannot be moved if they have not had electricity in the 90 days prior to the move.

The association has asked that those restrictions be removed and replaced with current federal Housing and Urban Development standards.

Those standards, Strickland said, pre-empt the 15-year cap thereby making it invalid. The Court of Appeals also has said it is unconstitutional, Strickland said.

There are a multitude of current standards, local, state and federal, in place regulating mobile homes, he said.

State set-up standards adopted in 2004 regulate the tie down and foundation of the homes throughout the state. HUD adopted standards in 1976 that control mobile home construction.

The association has suggested that any used mobile home be inspected by an agent of the office of Wayne County Inspections to verify that the mobile home meets the current HUD standards.

The Planning Board has recommended the changes.

David Edwards of Mount Olive, speaking on behalf of Bobby Denning Realty, sought to show how the 15-year cap adversely affects the county's mobile home parks.

Edwards said that a 56-lot Bobby Denning mobile home park in Dudley has 23 vacant lots. He said that he has a customer who lives in Sampson County, but wants to live in Wayne County. However, he can't because his mobile home would be banned under the current rules, Edwards said.

It is difficult to find affordable mobile homes that are 15 years old or less, he said.