• November 20, 2019

Hamilton wants mobile home moratorium - Odessa American: City Of Odessa

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Hamilton wants mobile home moratorium

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Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 4:29 pm

District 1 Council Member Malcolm Hamilton said during a meeting last week he would like to see a moratorium placed on mobile home permits in his district for at least two years, meaning no permits would be issued for any new mobile homes.

Hamilton’s district had seen 120 trailer home permits granted for District 1 from 2018 to 2019, more than half of all trailer home permits issued in that time frame. One district, District 4, didn’t have any granted at all. And more than 80 percent of those permits issued in District 1 were issued south of Second Street.

“If we’re going to promote the development of homes, I don’t see how we can continue to allow trailer homes to just abundantly be spread all across District 1,” Hamilton said during the meeting.

Doing this, Hamilton said, would allow developers to come in and build modular or traditional homes that would appreciate in value, as opposed to mobile homes.

“It’s absolutely horrible that trailer homes have been allowed to be erected or set up beside traditional homes,” Hamilton said. “It kills the property value for the home owner, it kills the spirit of the community.”

Hamilton said he isn’t against mobile homes, only against them being placed in between or behind traditional homes, and suggested spreading the mobile homes out further and not just the majority in District 1.

Whether or not this would actually be doable is a separate question. Interim City Attorney Gary Landers said the council has the authority to vote to do that, but they would have to say what the situation is, why they’re doing it and that they might want to change something in their permitting process.

“That’s the typical situation where there’s a possibility of a moratorium, kind of like a stand down,” Landers said.

Courts tend to not favor moratoriums, Landers said, with cities getting stricter scrutiny on them. Cities have to have some real questions and the amount of time on the moratorium has to be reasonable. Two years is kind of a long time for a moratorium, Landers said.

“We could certainly do a moratorium for a reasonable amount of time necessary to contact other cities, do legal research,” Landers said.

One other option the city may have is rezoning, Landers said, by changing individual zonings around town as appropriate, and Landers said they have many zoning areas already where mobile homes aren’t allowed.

“If the council wants to have a moratorium, then I’m gonna do my best to make it as long as possible so that we can find all the information we need,” Landers said. “How long is that? I really don’t know.”

District 2 Council Member Dewey Bryant didn’t say he was in favor of a moratorium, but said he thinks they just need to do research and get facts.

“I just think it’s something that we need to, no question, explore,” Bryant said. “Under any of these circumstances, can a trailer go between two houses?....Until those things are known, I think we need to know that before making a decision.”

District 3 Council Member Detra White similarly said there needed to be more research on the topic of mobile homes in the area.

“I completely understand what his concerns are because there are so many dilapidated mobile homes, and especially in District 1,” White said. “However, I think that’s something that we’re gonna have to really give a lot of consideration to on what’s best for his constituents, and I think just a little more research on it and let us weigh the concerns.”

One mobile home resident in District 1, Andrea Aragonez, said she may be open to the idea of a moratorium, while another mobile home resident, Jorge Lopez, didn’t think it was a good idea.

“Trailers are good because not everyone can afford a home,” Lopez said. “This area is just mostly trailers.”

Rodney Johnson, owner of Big J Mobile Homes in Odessa, said he thinks the moratorium would be a mistake.

“They provide an immediate need to be filled. It’s part of the reason rent prices continue to climb out here is because there’s nothing available,” Johnson said. “If you cut off manufactured housing, you’re actually going to hurt people here even more.”

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