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Mon, Oct. 14

Yavapai County: Even first-class manufactured homes not wanted where not properly zoned

Cari Gorman-Salisbury owns a 2-acre lot surrounded by R1L-175 zoning which limits property owners to site-built structures. Mistakenly believing her property, acquired in 2017, provided for manufactured homes, she bought one and had it delivered one day in September to the property located on the west side of Orme Road off Rocking J Lane in the Dewey area.

Within hours after a neighbor complained, the home was removed. Manufactured homes, no matter how large, expensive or well-built they are, are not allowed, based on a change in zoning made in 1998.

Gorman-Salisbury, seeing other manufactured homes in her neighborhood, had applied for a use permit from Yavapai County but hadn’t heard back when the delivery took place.

At a Dec. 6 Planning and Zoning meeting, she told commissioners that when she bought the property in 2017, the deed hadn’t been updated in 1998 to indicate the current zoning, and the title company and Yavapai County staff also failed to note the change.

Eight nearby residents opposed the applicant’s request, two indicated their support. Those in opposition stated the proximity of a manufactured home would decrease their property values, and some had bought property because of the zoning.

Commissioners and supervisors, when looking at permit requests, consider impact on surrounding properties, impact on traffic, conformance with development standards, maintaining the character of the neighborhood, preservation of safety and welfare in consistency with the comp plan, said Commission Chair Jim Stewart. Items not to be considered were the personality of the applicant, questions concerning technical issues, water availability, financial gain or hardship, viability of a project, or setting precedence.

Commissioner Sandy Griffis said she thought manufactured homes were the wave of the future, and she felt not all were substandard. In fact, five manufactured homes reside on property within the 1,000-foot radius of Gorman-Salisbury’s property, she said.

The P&Z Commission voted 5-2 to recommend denial of the request, with Commissioners Stewart and Griffis opposing.

At the Wednesday, Jan. 2, supervisors’ meeting, Gorman-Salisbury said manufactured homes are becoming more important with today’s crisis in lack of affordable housing. The quality is equivalent and construction safety requirements are the same as for site-built homes, she said.

Of the 34 nearby parcels, she said 15 are vacant, 10 are site-built homes, one has a small garage, and eight are manufactured homes. She also refuted the idea that manufactured homes lower neighbors’ property values.

Joseph Roe, project manager for Clayton and Oakwood Homes, supports Gorman-Salisbury’s application. Despite the stigma attached to manufactured homes, they are subject to countless inspections from federal, state and the county, he said. He asked those opposing the permit to look at the homes and see how well produced and well put together they were.

Board Vice Chair Craig Brown mentioned that 25 to 30 percent of housing permits applications received in the county are for manufactured homes. Supervisor Tom Thurman suggested that the company work with people buying their product to help check zoning prior to making a purchase.

David Roe, general manager of Clayton and Oakwood Homes, said Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, federal housing finance agency, are in the process of changing banking qualifications for manufactured homes as they recognize the homes are equal in quality to site-built homes.

There are many categories of manufactured homes and the one the applicant bought is of a high level, said Supervisor Rowle Simmons, who disagrees with treating them all as equal, saying, “We cannot use an umbrella here.”

Brown and Board Chair Randy Garrison said the Board of Supervisors probably will be seeing more of these applications in the future. The board voted 5-0 to deny the use permit.

In other business, the board:

• Approved accepting, as a direct recipient, the $25 million BUILD grant for the Verde Connect project.

• Tabled an item allowing individual supervisors to join local Chambers of Commerce.

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