Proposed Council Ordinance Sparks Property Rights, Discrimination Discussion

Nimby comic credit as shown, used here under fair use guidelines.

In Greene County, Indiana, the Linton city council voted to move forward with a controversial ordinance.

The vote, which required the mayor to break a tie, approved a measure stating all future manufactured homes brought into the city must be moved into a manufactured home community.

What I’m going to propose is all of the trailers [sic] in town now be grandfathered in. Any trailer [sic] from this day forward will go into a state-mandated trailer park [sic],” said Linton mayor John Wilkes.

You look at all the other communities around, their cities are clean, their towns are cleaned up. They have trailer parks [sic] to put their trailers [sic] in.

According to the Greene County Daily World, the Linton city council has been debating for months about how to move forward with cleaning up unsightly older mobile and manufactured homes in the city limits, while still providing affordable and safe housing for Linton residents.

Mayor John Wilkes. Official Photo.

One of the reasons why the city has been unable to put together a trailer [sic] ordinance is because Linton does not have any zoning,” said Wilkes.

The mayor said the city is working to clear out houses in the city and commended city councilwoman Linda Bedwell for her work with the county-led blighted property ordinance.

I think we are on the same page here. We want to clean the city up and make it a better place,” Wilkes said during the council meeting.

Upon the call for a vote, council members Fred Markle and Jerry Ellett voted in favor of putting together the ordinance as proposed by the mayor. Council members Tony Richards and Linda Bedwell voted against the measure.

Councilman Jeff Sparks was not in attendance.

In a situation like this, the chair will break the tie and I’m in favor of that motion so that motion carries,” Wilkes said.

Linton city council. Official photo.

Markle told the council that based on his independent research, he found many communities of similar size have zoning in place, and this seems like the right direction to go in addressing the problem.

Markle also stressed that it may take 10 to 12 years for the proposed ordinance to take effect.

Mayor Wilkes noted while about 10 percent of manufactured homes in the city limits are in top shape, it is the rest of the older mobile or manufactured homes, which he characterized as being run down and negatively impact the neighbor’s property values.

But you also have that problem with houses, too,” said Bidwell.

I think if you own the property you should do with it what you want,” said councilman Tony Richards.

Linton, Indiana. Credit: Google.

A member of the public was not pleased.

While Mayor Wilkes did not open up the topic for public discussion during the meeting, local landlord Jerry May addressed the council after the meeting was adjourned.

I wanted to put you on notice that I plan to file an injunction on the ordinance. I think you need to rethink that because you’re violating some laws,” May said.

May buys, sells and trades manufactured homes in the city, rents out several homes and currently has a manufactured home community.

This is taking away the usability, sell-ability and buy-ability of the property. It takes away all value in all aspect. We’ve got one park [sic] here in town, and it’s got restrictions itself,” said May.

The landlord also said that he believes this is a dangerous step in the direction of zoning.

It’s a major takeover. It’s not just the creation of an ordinance. This is a major form of zoning, and there’s lots more zoning to come. I promise,” May said.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) cases recently, including one in Hutchinson, Kansas here.  It should also be noted that a close reading of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 provides for enhanced preemption, which ought to limit such local zoning efforts.

MHARR and state associations are often raising this issue, with one example in a case linked here.  Please see the download from that linked column. ##

Image credits are as shown.

(Editor’s Note: the story in the image linked above is another case of NIMBY that is worth exploring. Also, to understand the home owner’s vantage point, please see the article linked here.)

(Image credits are as shown above.)

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

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