Proposed code may curb new mobile housing

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Manufactured housing lots are scattered throughout the Kilgore City Limits – there’s space for, potentially, more than 7,000 mobile homes.

A proposed change to the city’s codes would limit such structures (mobile or manufactured) to designated areas moving forward. Owners of existing units would have the option of updating their home once more before zoning rules would require a small home be constructed.

“What’s there is there and you can replace it,” once, Kilgore Planning & Zoning Director Carol Windham said. “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.”

Kilgore Planning & Zoning Commission members unanimously-signed off on Ordinance 1708 Wednesday morning, sending it on to Kilgore City Council members for final consideration.

The amendment eliminates the Single Family Manufactured Housing zoning designation, converting such lots into R-3 Single Family Residential District. According to the city’s code, the R-3 district is intended for single-family housing on ‘small’ lots (compared to the ‘large’ lots of R-1 and ‘medium’ for R-2).

If approved, Ordinance 1708 would also strike all references to a Manufactured Home Park zoning district – they’d become R-3 too, modified by a Special Use Permit.

Under the revised codes, the new rules for manufacturing house would grandfather-in existing structures (to a point) that aren’t situated in an existing mobile home park. If adopted as written, existing mobile homes or manufactured homes could be replaced once with a same-size or larger unit as long as the new one less than 5 years-old.

Right now, the city’s zoning allows for more Single Family Manufactured Home lots than all of R-1, R-2 and R-3 combined, Windham said.

“That’s a lot of manufactured homes,” she added, and it’s an old concern for local officials: “Manufactured homes don’t gain any value. In some instances, they’re not safe structures.

If council members green-light the long-under-consideration amendment, “There will be no additional new manufactured homes unless they are in a licensed manufactured home park.”

The proposal was designed to make a limited allowance for current mobile/manufactured homeowners who could now find themselves in an R-3 zone.

“If you already have a manufactured home on the property, you can replace it one time even though it’s not zoned for a manufactured,” Windham said, repeating the age limitation on the new structure – it can’t be older than 5 years.

The P&Z board members approved the amendment with only brief comments.

“This is what all the surrounding communities have done, too,” commission member Terry Thrower said.

With planning and zoning group’s positive recommendation, Kilgore City Council members are set to take up the issue during their regularly-scheduled meeting May 8. Find a copy of the ordinance at KilgoreNewsHerald.com.

Another P&Z recommendation will reach council members next week: in another unanimous decision April 18, the commission recommended the city’s elected officials approve a re-zoning request from David McElyea to change his ‘Agricultural’ property to ‘Light Manufacturing.’

“This is a property that we brought into the city in 2011,” Windham reminded the board. “It was all zoned ag when it was brought into the city,” and the property owner’s request for a building permit trigged the zoning change.

No neighboring property owners protested the changed: “It’s pretty straightforward.”

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