County in compliance with manufactured home regulations |

County in compliance with manufactured home regulations

by Christy Chalmers

Manufactured homes may be coming to a neighborhood near you, but they’ll have to fit in with all the other houses.

The state Legislature passed a law that requires counties to include manufactured homes within the definition of single-family homes, meaning they could be placed anywhere a single-family site- or “stick”- built home can go.

Douglas County planners responded with the necessary amendments, as well as a list of design standards that will apply to all single-family homes. The ordinance will be considered for a second and final time in January, when it takes effect.

“The design standards are more geared toward making the manufactured homes look more like stick-built homes,” said Dale Conner, a planner with the community development department. “With our ordinance, we didn’t want to single out the design for manufactured homes only. They are going to include site-built homes as well.”

The design requirements say manufactured homes must meet current codes and be permanently attached to a foundation. Running gears, tongues, axles and wheels must be removed when they’re installed. They also have to be installed within five years of their manufacture date.

The ordinance precludes single-wide trailers, listing a minimum width of 20 feet. The houses have to have at least a thousand square feet of living area and consist of more than one section. Their roofs can’t be composed of unfinished aluminum or steel, and must be sloped, with an overhang of at least 18 inches.

The portion that applies to all single family homes requires the use of at least three architectural features, such as dormers, recessed entries, covered porches, decks “or other compensating features that would make the dwelling architecturally compatible and harmonious with the surrounding neighborhood.”

Some neighborhoods, such as those with their own restrictions on the types of houses allowed, or those that are being developed by one entity, will be exempt from the new law, meaning manufactured homes could be prohibited. The law most likely will be exercised in areas with empty lots that the buyers are free to develop.

The ordinance also won’t mean the end of traditional single-wide or trailer-style homes. Those can still be installed in areas that have a manufactured home overlay district, such as the Topaz Ranch Estates area or the KingsLane and Aspen mobile home parks in Gardnerville.

Douglas County’s new ordinance is based on similar rules enacted by other communities. Conner said the chamber of commerce, building groups and town officials were consulted, but the issue didn’t draw as many comments as were expected.