Manufactured homes can now come to a neighborhood near you | NevadaAppeal.com

Manufactured homes can now come to a neighborhood near you

Teya Vitu

The new year started with manufactured homes in Nevada taking on equal status with any house.

Legislation passed in 1999 defines a manufactured home as a single-family residence, just like a site-built house. That means manufactured homes may be moved into any neighborhood with traditional houses in Nevada.

But that doesn’t mean any manufactured home may be set up in an established neighborhood.

Lobbying efforts by Carson City and Douglas County successfully added a number of requirements to make manufactured homes match the standards of stick-built homes as much as possible.

Senate Bill 323 limits the obligation of cities and counties only to manufactured homes made within five years of the date that they are affixed onto a residential lot. That means only manufactured homes made since 1995 are allowed to move into a single-family residential neighborhood.

Carson City’s new actions to comply with state law meet with approval from both Realtors and the Nevada Manufactured Housing Association.

“So far we haven’t had any problem,” said Jim Snellings, the association’s president. “As it stands, no, I haven’t heard anything one way or the other.”

Charlie Kitchen, chairman of the Carson-Douglas-Lyon-Tahoe Board of Realtors, said Realtors don’t think manufactured homes will lead to drops in real estate values.

“We don’t feel that at all,” Kitchen said. “The city has come up with very fair recommendations and we feel we can work with them.”

Kitchen and Snellings said the quality of manufactured homes has improved dramatically in the past decade.

“If done right, they are just as nice as any site-built home,” Snellings said.

Carson City principal planner Rob Joiner, Carson City building official Phil Herrington and John Doughty, former community development director in Douglas County, testified before the state Senate long before other cities and counties realized manufactured housing legislation was likely to pass.

Joiner said similar legislation had surfaced in previous years but never made much progress in the Legislature. SB 323 caught much of the state off guard because it was introduced in the Senate rather the Assembly, where bills traditionally originate.

“On our part, we opposed the legislation,” Joiner said. “We didn’t feel it was appropriate to allow different standards of construction (in the same neighborhood).”

The Carson-Douglas contingent insisted legislators add requirements so that manufactured homes at least would be compatible with homes of a neighborhood.

These include:

— A manufactured home must be manufactured within five years of being affixed to a residential lot.

— Exterior siding and roofing must be similar in color, material and appearance used on other nearby homes.

— The unit must have more than one section and have at least 1,200 square feet of living area.

— Historic districts can exclude manufactured homes.

— A manufactured home must be certified for conversion to real property by the state Manufactured Housing Division of the Department of Business and Industry.

Manufactured homes are nothing new to Carson City. About 22 percent of all single-family homes in the capital city are manufactured homes, but until now they were all in neighborhoods specifically zoned for mobile/manufactured homes.

On July 1, Carson City had 11,440 single-family homes and 3,204 manufactured homes, according to the Assessor’s Office.

No one has yet applied for a permit to move a manufactured home into a neighborhood of stick-built homes, city Building Department officials said.

In Carson City, manufactured homes moving into existing neighborhoods must meet Universal Building Code design requirements like a traditional house. Previously, manufactured homes fell under U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards.

“The manufacturer has to tell us it meets our conditions,” Joiner said. “Those are the same as site built homes. We just want it to be apples to apples.”

Cities were supposed to incorporate language and requirements into their codes by Jan. 1. Carson City made only one change to the municipal code – adding manufactured housing to the definition of single-family residential home.

Other changes were handled as an administrative process, such as creating an permit application to locate a manufactured home into a single family zoned district.