Bluffton Planning Commission approves mobile home replacement proposal

mmcnab@islandpacket.comJune 25, 2014 

Bluffton's planning commission approved a proposal Wednesday that would set new standards for replacing dilapidated mobile homes in Old Town.

The proposal, approved on a 3-1 vote, would speed the process for replacing the old mobile homes but could require owners to go through the review process traditional homes require.

As written, the proposal would require that a new mobile home undergo a review by town staff members to ensure it meets building code.

The planning commission, however, urged that the review process be handled by the Historic Preservation Commission in a process similar to the one traditional homes face. Commissioners included the recommended change in its proposal, which it sent to town council.

Planning Commission chairman Thomas Viljac said review by the commission would allow public input and comment that a staff review would not.

If approved by council, the plan would affect 58 homes on 47 parcels around Old Town.

Commission members tabled the initial proposal last month because of what the panel called a lack of oversight for the new homes.

The proposal approved Wednesday included new standards for mobile homes in Old Town, Bluffton senior planner Erin Schumacher said. Existing standards likely would make the homes too costly for many low-income residents, she said.

New mobile homes would have to meet six architectural and aesthetic criteria:

  • The home on the lot must have correct placement.
  • Any added porch or stoop must be reviewed by town staff.
  • The mobile home must have an appropriate foundation and have skirting to hide the foundation piers and ground beneath the trailer. Mechanisms used to haul it to the lot must be removed.
  • Walls must be of a permitted finish, such as vinyl or aluminum siding.
  • Roofing material must be appropriate.
  • The use of operational shutters is encouraged.
By offering a faster review path, officials hope residents will forgo costly repairs in favor of buying new homes, Schumacher said.

Commission member Harry Lutz voted against the proposal over concerns about a lack of sewer connection requirements and the effect on the May River.

The commission directed the town's growth management department to study an ordinance requiring homeowners to connect to water and sewer lines.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

Related content:

Incentive for mobile-home replacement in Old Town Bluffton hits snag, May 30, 2014

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