Hamlet’s new rules allow older mobile homes — with a catch

By Melonie Flomer

June 10, 2014

HAMLET — Older mobile homes are now welcome in the city limits as long as they’re placed on foundations.

The Hamlet City Council unanimously approved a revised zoning ordinance regulating mobile and modular homes Tuesday night. City Attorney T.C. Morphis, who drafted the new rules with the city planning and zoning board’s input, fielded questions from the councilmembers.

“We found we had to make some changes when our attorney found some laws had changed concerning mobile homes,” Mayor Bill Bayless said.

The previous ordinance stated “mobile/manufactured homes must not be older than 12 years old if they are to be placed on an individual lot or in a mobile home park.”

“We can’t have mobile home regulations based on the age of the structure anymore,” Morphis said. “You can still regulate aesthetics of the mobile home and its dimensions.”

“The only thing that concerns me about the ordinance as it is written is that the mobile home can be that old, someone could bring a 40-year-old mobile home in and set it up,” said Councilman Eddie Martin. “Down in section 2, there’s the requirement to put a permanent masonry foundation on a 40-year-old mobile home seems a burden to the owner, it would cost them more than the mobile home. If it’s a new mobile home, it wouldn’t be a problem, I’m sure. If someone has got a 40-year-old mobile home, they can’t afford to put a masonry foundation on it.”

The section Martin referred to states “A continuous, permaent masonry foundation unpierced except for required ventilation and access shall be installed under the mobile home; and the tongue, axles, transporting, lights and removable towing apparatus shall be removed subsequent to final placement.”

“It won’t apply to existing mobile homes of that age, but if someone takes one out and replaces it with another one then it would apply to them,” Morphis said.

“The only problem I’ve got with skirting is people put those vinyl pieces around it and they get blown away or get holes all in it, and all the stuff they use under there that’s not permanent, it just looks bad,” Councilman Tony Clewis said.

“You can’t regulate the 40-year-old trailer, but you can pass ordinances to make it less appealing to put one up,” Councilman Jesse McQueen said.

Councilmembers agreed the amendment’s purpose is not to impede anyone from moving to Hamlet and living in a mobile home, but to comply with changes to state laws.

Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-997-3111, ext. 15.