Forest Park residents are asking for the city of McMinnville to intervene in a modular home versus mobile home controversy.
“The problem we have with the modular home that was placed in our area is it came in on wheels like a trailer and it was put together like a trailer,” said Forest Park resident Ann Buckner. “The only difference is it has a wood flooring underneath it. There’s another modular home that was built onsite and it looks like a house, but this is what they call a multi-sectional. They look like trailers but they call them modular homes.”
A petition against placement of the house was signed by neighbors and presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday.
Modular homes are residences built in a controlled factory environment in sections, or modules, and then transported to the construction site. There, they are installed on permanent foundations and completed by professional installers.
Manufactured homes, also referred to as mobile homes or trailers, are built in a factory on non-removable steel chassis and transported to the building site on their own wheels. Multi-part manufactured units (doublewides or larger) are constructed on separate non-removable steel chassis, transported in sections, and joined at their destination.
The city restricts placement of trailers to Residential-4 zones. They are not allowed in Residential 1, 2 or 3 zones. Forest Park is considered an R-1 zone. No restrictions are placed on modular homes.
Buckner says the city’s code needs to be changed to prevent similar modular homes from being placed.
“If we can’t get the code changed to say ‘built on site’ then we are going to be in trouble,” she said. “This home doesn’t blend in with the neighborhood. It looks like a trailer.”
According to Planning and Zoning director Nolan Ming, the house in question is considered a modular home.
“It came in on flatbeds and was lifted into place by a crane,” said Ming. “It is wood framed. There’s no undercarriage like a chassis. It has a subfloor. The sections were set on concrete foundations. That being the case, it’s technically a modular home. Modular homes don’t have regulations or guidelines as to how many pieces they can come in.”
The city’s current codes do not address modular homes and a change in the zoning code at this point would not result in its removal.
“We can’t do anything with the current codes we have in place,” said Ming. “I will be taking a look at our zoning code to address this situation. It will be up to the city if they want to change the code and include modular homes. However, that would not help the residents of Forest Park. With that home already in place, a change in zoning code would not affect it.”
Homeowners in Forest Park do have subdivision restrictions which outline restrictions on the use of land so the value and enjoyment of adjoining land will be preserved. However, the neighborhood association would have to take legal action if the decision is made the house is in violation.