| TELL A FRIEND|
Sun 12/06/09 07:27:47 pm
by Ed Hicks
Today, manufactured homes properly sited in a modern well designed community more than meets the basic needs of many, especially seniors and first time home buyers. However, going through the unpleasant process of public hearings in most areas, meets with public and commissioner's resistance. Much of it is totally undeserved and due to old myths about lifestyles in a manufactured housing community. These unfounded myths contribute so much to public and therefore commissioner's perceptions, that obtaining planning and zoning approvals are very rare, with a few exceptions. And when approved and built, virtually all result in some very attractive communities which after the fact, are appreciated by both the public and by planning professionals.
Unfortunately, our story isn't being well told. You have the potential to help correct this, and get our industry back on the path of fair and balanced information for both the public and professional planners, and elected officials .
Our industry deserves to have the record put straight so when planning commissions are considering a proposed project, they are dealing with the true facts, and not some old unfounded myths. Without a fair hearing, many projects which could and would provide decent, affordable, safe, attractive housing for many Americans will continue to be lost.
I note that manufactured housing at its zenith, was providing as much as 30% of all new housing needs in the US. Today, that has sadly dropped to under 10%. While much of the decline has been due to a lack of viable chattel mortgage financing, it is also due to hostility encountered when developers approach planning commissions with proposed projects. Much of the hostility is undeserved but remains because of public perceptions of older "trailer parks"
Much has changed in our industry for the positive in terms of the quality and safety of homes, home siting, financing, and most of all, meeting the real needs of low and moderate income residents. Alas, too often most professional planners and political leaders are not aware these changes.
The recent acquisition of one of our industry's largest and most successful manufacturing company which also provides financing for new homes, by Berkshire Hathaway, portends a positive future, But we can't do a fair job of providing quality housing in communities, if we are continually being "beat" down by mis-informed commissioners, planners, politicians, and the general public.
Getting positive, real, information and facts out there would go a long way towards serving the public and our industry.
As a manufactured housing industry consultant, and columnist for several related National publications for over 20 years I would like to "throw...