Manufactured housing ordinance hits a snag

KINGMAN - David Sexton recently moved to Golden Valley from "Commie-fornia" to escape government overreach, and that's what he sees in a Mohave County zoning ordinance that would restrict the sale and relocation of manufactured homes older than seven years.

"They've regulated themselves into Third-World status," Sexton said of California's failing economy. "Old mobile homes have a following like old cars. People love them for what they are, and unfortunately, they're both being regulated into oblivion."

Sexton was among more than a dozen people who spoke Monday at the Board of Supervisors regular meeting in opposition to the ordinance that was scheduled to take effect Dec. 2.

Supervisor Jean Bishop, whose district covers Golden Valley, Dolan Springs and Chloride, made a motion to postpone enforcement of the ordinance and send it back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for reconsideration or repeal.

The board voted 5-0 to approve her motion.

Board Chairman Steve Moss said he put the item on the regular agenda after receiving numerous emails and phone calls from residents and from the president of the Manufactured Housing Industry of Arizona.

The ordinance was recently amended to limit the age of manufactured homes placed in Mohave County to seven years before a building permit can be requested for installation, and they must display a HUD label.

The current age limitation is for homes manufactured June 15, 1976, or later. Bishop said she would like to see the new ordinance changed from seven years to at least 20 years.

The purpose of the ordinance, which was recently adopted by the board, is to make sure manufactured homes meet federal construction standards and that they're consistent with surrounding development. Bullhead City enacted a similar ordinance a few years ago to clean up blighted neighborhoods.

"We already have a tool called code enforcement," Elise Herron told the board. "You may have to beef up their teeth."

Golden Valley resident Carmen Johnson asked for a complete repeal of the ordinance, saying it creates a hardship for low-income families wanting to move to the valley and for anyone who wants to buy a mobile home over seven years old.

"Effectively, this eliminates growth and the creation of jobs and business," Johnson said.

"It's condemnation," added Margaret Wene. "You destroyed the values of our property, but you want to put a value on it and tax us. You're going to destroy the valley and all the other areas."

Krystal Gabrielson said she owns several mobile homes over seven years old, and it's not so much about their age, but the condition of the home. She can show supervisors newer mobile homes that look like they're 20 years old, and 20-year-old homes that look new.

Maryann Lorraine of Golden Valley said the Planning and Zoning division's duty is to look out for public safety and make sure a neighborhood is livable, not to overreach property rights.

Supervisor Hildy Angius agreed with citizens' comments about code enforcement issues and overregulation.

"I think this is a really misguided ordinance and if it was up to me, I'd take it off now and don't even waste any more time," she said.

Bishop asked for a time frame on coming back with a resolution. Mobile home dealers are on hold with older units on their lots, she said.

Christine Ballard, manager of the Planning and Zoning Division, said she's collecting emails and listening to comments and talking to people in the manufactured home industry about alternatives that would be more acceptable to them.

She's shooting for January at best, but it may take until February, Ballard said.

Deputy County Attorney Bill Ekstrom said he can look at a way to postpone enforcement, but any repeal of the ordinance would have to go through the Planning and Zoning Commission process and come back to the board for approval.

In other action from Monday's agenda:

• The board voted 5-0 without discussion to approve a contract with Mohave Educational Services Cooperative for the employment of County Administrator Mike Hendrix at an annual salary of $147,500, plus payment of Social Security, Medicare, federal and state unemployment taxes, workers' compensation insurance and administrative fee amounting to an estimated $163,000 a year. The contract also calls for a 9.36 percent contribution to the Arizona State Retirement System, or about $15,250.

• The board voted 5-0 to direct Development Services Director Nicholas Hont to look at policies from other counties providing an agricultural exemption for land use or improvements. Hont said he's having discussions with county attorneys about the legal matters, and could put together a proposed policy with options in about 60 days.

• Chairman Moss was directed to submit a letter to the Bureau of Land Management field office in St. George, Utah, in opposition to proposals regarding Beaver Dam Wash and Red Cliffs National Conservation Areas. The plan is filled with restrictions that would hinder growth and enjoyment of resources in Washington County, Utah, and surrounding areas of the Arizona Strip and Mohave County, the letter states.

• The board unanimously adopted a resolution opposing adoption of the Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act.