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Revised zoning ordinance moves toward public comment

January 17, 2018

Wincek, Shaw, Redmond appointed as Mason County Planning

Commission officers

SCOTTVILLE — The Mason County Planning Commission is moving forward with its comprehensive zoning ordinance rewrite — started in 2016 — with changes to the language regarding single-wide mobile homes.

It was the planning commission’s initial recommendation to allow owners of single-wide trailers — dwellings with a width of 24 feet or less — to have their homes replaced if they are destroyed or made uninhabitable with mobile homes of the same size. The existing ordinance requires that damaged single-wide mobile homes be replaced by double-wides.

The building and grounds committee recommended removing this proposed revision.

Mason County Commissioner Janet Andersen explained the rationale behind the suggested language changes.

“Some of the concerns we had regarding the single-wide (trailers) were that they did affect property values,” she said. “We would be stepping backwards in time to allow replacements.”

She also said she didn’t believe the provision would be helpful to low-income families.

Thomas Hooper, who supported allowing the replacement of single-wide mobile homes, said the idea to amend that section of the zoning ordinance stemmed from a concern for the homeowners themselves.

“When we started this — and I’m a strong proponent of it — it was with the idea that (if) you live in a single-wide home and something happens to it, you can’t replace it. You have to go with a double-wide or another mobile structure,” Hooper said. “I am concerned about the people who don’t have the money to build a new house, they don’t have the money for a double-wide, and we’re telling them in essence that we don’t want them. I’m not sure that’s the message we want to send our community.”

See commission, A2

The initial idea for changing the language surrounding single-wide replacements was prompted by survey data from area townships, said Mason County Zoning and Building Director Mary Reilly.

“The townships did a survey, and the majority of those who responded wanted the opportunity to replace a single-wide home with another single-wide home,” Reilly said.

She said the issue primarily affected those who rent single-wide mobile homes.

“It’s a tough issue,” said newly appointed planning commission chair James Wincek. “I have some personal familiarity with mobile home living, and my personal feeling is that they can be very dangerous, especially for older people. I would support not allowing single-wides to be replaced by single-wides.”

Commissioners Mike Shaw and Fred Redmond echoed Wincek’s sentiments, and changed their previous votes on the issue.

A motion was made by Mason County Administrator Fabian Knizacky to accept the buildings and grounds committee’s recommendation, and to move the zoning ordinance forward to the public comment period, minus the revised language relating to dwellings less than 24 feet in width.

The motion was supported by Andersen, and was carried by all present commissioners with the exception of Hooper, who voted no.

The revised zoning ordinance will be scheduled for a public hearing at a later date.

Also on Tuesday

The planning commission elected its officers for the new year.

James Wincek was appointed to the position of chair, stepping in for Thomas Hooper. The nomination was made by Janet Andersen and seconded by Mike Shaw.

Wincek started his new role immediately, chairing Tuesday’s meeting.

Other officials appointed were Mike Shaw, as vice chair of the commission, and Frank Redmond, as secretary.


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