There is “ignorance” – or prejudice – arguably at work in the Texas city moving to limit manufactured homes in their jurisdiction. By their own estimates, thousands will be impacted.
The City of Kilgore, Texas Planning and Zoning Board approved changes “unanimously recommended,” per the Longview News Journal.
“Manufactured housing lots are scattered throughout the Kilgore City Limits – there’s space for, potentially, more than 7,000 mobile homes [sic],” said the Kilgore News Herald, adding, “A proposed change to the city’s codes would limit such structures (mobile or manufactured) to designated areas moving forward.”
“Recommended changes won’t necessarily affect residents of existing manufactured homes, city leaders said. Existing homes also can be replaced one time, but only if the home is the same size or larger than the existing residence and is no older than 5 years old,” according to Jimmy Daniell Isaac for the Longview News Journal.
“What’s there is there and you can replace it,” once, Kilgore Planning & Zoning Director Carol Windham said, per the Kilgore News Herald. “We’re not going to take that away.” If approved, ‘Single Family Manufactured Housing’ will be eliminated outside specific spots: “We’re not allowing any more unless you put it in a licensed mobile home park. That’s pretty much the gist of it.”
But the Longview report suggests the quote above from Kilgore’s paper isn’t quite accurate. If a home is lost in a fire, for example, and must be replaced with one that’s 5 years old or newer, that may cause some property owners to de facto have their rights limited or taken, depending upon their economic circumstances.
“This is what all of the surrounding communities have done,” commissioner Terry Thrower said in Isaac’s report. “City Council members will consider final approval of the ordinance changes in May, City Planner Carol Windham said. If approved, it would end nearly a year of subcommittee and workshop discussions about regulating manufactured housing in Kilgore.”
Costly NIMBY At Work?
In a posted comment on both news sites, “It seems like some civic leaders in Kilgore are not aware of the “Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.” That federal law gives “enhanced preemption” to federally regulated manufactured housing,” wrote L. A. “Tony” Kovach, publisher of MHLivingNews and MHProNews.
“At the very time that millions across the nation – including in Texas – are struggling with housing that costs too much, why in the world would Kilgore make it more difficult to buy the most affordable kind of permeant housing available?” – Kovach rhetorically asked.
“The likely answer is ignorance, which means, lack of knowledge,” Kovach said, “University level studies demonstrate that manufactured homes properly installed appreciate side by side with conventional housing. A study done by Chang Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago, and Encirco Moretti said that cutting off affordable housing cost the American economy some $2 trillion dollars annually.”
“Just because other locales have done something, doesn’t mean that Kilgore should follow suit. More study is warranted, because violating federal law and costing your economy makes no sense,” Kovach’s remarks concluded.
In a report entitled “Local Star Chambers Wage War on Affordable Housing,” Texas retailer Gary Adamek, Fayette Country Homes said that zoning related issues were more harmful to the industry than Dodd-Frank ever was.
JD Harper of the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA) referred to similar placement and zoning issues in his state as “economic racism,” and praised the Rev. Donald Tye Jr. call for HUD to step up and enforce enhanced preemption.
At the very time that HUD Secretary Ben Carson has called modern manufactured homes “amazing,” and the Trump Administration is striving to create more economic opportunities for Americans, why would Kilgore – or any other town – choke off economic options, by limiting affordable housing?
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has sounded of for years on the need to enforce enhanced preemption, the most recent example is in the report linked above. This is one of several issues that based upon trends and if left unchecked, will continue to limit manufactured housing’s growth potential. It would harm the nation, because it will negatively impact those seeking affordable, quality homes, argues Kovach and others. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.) (Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)
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