A plan to make it easier and faster for Old Town Bluffton residents to replace mobile homes will return to Town Council next month with some changes.
The Bluffton Planning Commission changed its original recommendation in a 5 to 1 vote Wednesday, agreeing to allow residents replacing the homes to bypass the Historic Preservation Commission under certain conditions.
The commission had previously recommended all replacement mobile homes be reviewed by the commission. However, the Town Council decided that would be an unnecessary step and voted 4 to 1 earlier this month to require only town staff review of replacements.
Because council changed the proposal, state law required the Planning Commission to revisit the matter.
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On Wednesday, the commission agreed withcouncil's decision that new mobile homes in Old Town be reviewed by town staff, but it added a requirement that they go before the historic commission if they do not meet all of the aesthetic criteria outlined in the proposed ordinance.
The ordinance, which sets up criteria like shutters, skirting, and siding for new mobile homes, affects 58 homes on 47 parcels in Old Town.
The ordinance was aimed at mobile home residents in the historic district who can't afford to buy a home that meets current requirements in Old Town. By offering a faster review path, officials hope residents will forgo costly repairs to aging mobile homes in favor of buying new ones.
The Planning Commission, however, says it wants some review by the historic commission to allow public input.
"We wanted the public to be involved and be heard," commission member Terry Hannock said. "That was the driver behind it."
Town Council will receive the changed recommendation Aug. 12 for what is expected to be the final vote on the proposed ordinance.
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.