The report of yet another American city considering a ban on new manufactured housing is the most recent warning-flag for an issue that has been growing for several years in states across the country.
City of Bryan, TX, District Two Councilman Prentiss Madison, told KBTX that he is getting calls and messages from people on both sides of the issue, meaning for and against the ban.
“I’m hearing from both sides of the issue,” said Madison.
“If the proposed ordinance passes,” says KBTX, “manufactured homes would not be allowed on vacant lots going forward. Those already living in a manufactured home would be grandfathered into the ordinance.”
Bryan has roughly 3,500 manufactured homes. A little more than half are in manufactured home communities, per local media. The rest are in mixed-use neighborhoods of conventional housing and manufactured homes, such as the Kemp Carver and Castle Heights neighborhoods.
“This is about the community of Bryan,” said councilman Madison, per the local report linked here. “What do the citizens and the community wants to look like going forward?”
Or is this possibly about big money interests that want to eliminate competition under the guise of something else? But set that question aside for later.
If Madison’s comment sounds negative to those with sensitive manufactured home industry ears, it did as well to Karl Radde. Radde is with Southern Comfort Homes, and he attended a Planning and Zoning (P&Z) meeting a few weeks earlier with D.J. Pendleton in Bryan, along with that state association’s executive director, per the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) website.
Radde has served in leadership roles for both the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) retailer council, and is also as a well liked prior chairman of the TMHA.
Radde’s pitch was based upon reason and compromise, per the TMHA and other informed sources.
“As you guessed, that argument apparently fell on deaf ears as I was politely thanked for my comments,” said Radde.
While Radde made an intelligent argument, he and Pendleton – per TMHA’s report and other sources – failed to make an argument based upon the enhanced preemption clause of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA). Radde and other sources in and beyond Texas have provided additional insights to MHProNews, and as of the time that those comments were provided, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) had not weighed in. That too is a vexing pattern that’s becoming better known, as the report linked here reflects.
Castle Heights neighborhood association President Rafael Pena, who was previously on city council, says manufactured homes are necessary.
“It’s a price point issue. Not everybody can afford a stick-built home,” said Pena. “I think we would love to be in a stick-built home, but a lot of times a lot of people don’t have enough money, they don’t earn enough at their jobs.”
Kemp Carver’s neighborhood association president, Ray Arrington, was cited by local media saying that it’s an ordinance his neighbors should consider.
“When we want curbs and gutters and improvements in our neighborhood, we have to look at what our tax base is,” said Arrington. “They are paying less taxes, so that calls for less services.”
It’s what J.D. Harper in neighboring Arkansas once referred to as economic racism.
Bryan Proposal Purportedly Violates Federal Law, Plus Harms Local Economy
The case is a mirror of prior incidents in Indiana and California. In those other instances, they too had civic forces with motivations to limit or ban manufactured homes. But both municipalities rapidly revered themselves after city officials were contacted by MHProNews, which looped in two pro-industry non-profits, and provided legal references for each city’s leaders and attorneys to chew on. See the related reports, further below the byline and notices for details.
Radde provided MHProNews with more extensive comments, which will be reviewed at a future point, likely after this issue is resolved, as they are revealing and insightful.
Radde also wanted MHProNews to clarify a point, “while I have zero issues with Clayton Homes, the only new Clayton product my company has sold was a couple of Tru homes a few years back. While we are about 65% preowned homes, our new line is primarily Fleetwood. We have also recently added the Jessup line of homes.”
That requested comment from Radde brings up the Clayton question. Where are they in this troubling scenario? After all, Texas is the number one state in the nation for manufactured home sales, production, and shipments. Where is Clayton’s defense of the industry and reputation? Why aren’t they standing up for groups that Pena and Radde represents?
What if This Trend of Banning Manufactured Homes Continues Unabated?
Several factual as well as legal arguments can be made in such cases, but for whatever reasons, in spot checks by MHProNews, the MHIA and enhanced preemption are repeatedly not being presented to local officials. Why not?
Furthermore, where is the claimed clout that MHI is supposed to have? Don’t they proudly proclaim on their website that they represent all segments of factory-built housing? Why aren’t they sticking up for the rights of citizen’s like Pena? Or independents like Radde?
This case is the latest #NettlesomeThings issue of #Nimby vs. #Yimby. In order to address growing threats like these, and others, the manufactured housing industry’s members are encouraged to attend an afternoon aimed at identify causes, outlining proposed proven cures, and then laying out action steps to create growth from challenges that will others only limit affordable manufactured home sales in the future.
See the related report, above, and others below for more details.
That’s this morning’s troubling but true “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © See the related reports for more details. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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