Attorneys Threaten Federal Housing, Civil Rights Complaints Over Proposed Kilgore, TX Manufactured Home Ordinance
The Kilgore, Texas City Council has postponed a final decision to amend its manufactured home ordinances after attorneys for a mobile home park threatened to file federal housing and civil rights complaints, reports the Longview News-Journal.
The owners of King Mobile Home Park, a 46-year-old rental community in Kilgore, say the proposed ordinances advance no legitimate interest, adding that the city’s plan to allow residents to replace an existing mobile home only “one time” violates state law.
According to City Manager Josh Selleck, the protest letter moved council members to pull the proposals from their regular meeting agenda on Tuesday, choosing instead to wait for outside legal advice.
Attorney Prepared to File Complaint With HUD
Austin attorney William P. McLean said in his statement to city leaders that the manufactured housing ordinance “represents a clear violation of law on a multitude of levels. The city’s efforts are clearly geared to reducing and/or eliminating affordable manufactured housing options to the detriment of the community.”
McLean said his clients — Nell, Martha, and John King — were prepared to file a complaint with HUD, as well as take the matter to state court, unless the city shows and confirms “the legitimate basis for implementation of additional regulations on mobile homes and manufactured home parks.”
The Kilgore Planning and Zoning Board recommended approval of the ordinance changes April 18, after almost a year of subcommittee and joint council workshops in which the matter was discussed. Those changes include:
- Restrict the number of replacements in legally existing manufactured home parks
- Manufactured home parks allowed only in Category R-3 single-family districts, with an approved special-use permit
- Remove the single-family manufactured housing district from its development code, and manufactured home districts would be stricken from the code
The proposed ordinance caught our attention last month, and we reported it as part of our weekly Manufactured Home News brief on April 23rd, Proposed Zoning Change For Manufactured Housing in Kilgore.
Here at ManufacturedHomes.com, we continue to spotlight the important role of manufactured homes in providing affordable housing. This type of affordable housing remains under threat by numerous local land/use and housing jurisdictions across the country.
Protest Letter Says City Proposal “Grounded In Such Negative Attitudes or Fear”
In their protest letter, attorneys for the Kings said the ordinance seeks to prohibit mobile home parks in all Kilgore zoning districts except with a special-use permit and only in R-3 districts. They called it a “supplementary burden” that serves no legitimate purpose in establishing an affordable housing option but is instead “grounded in such negative attitudes or fear.”
Restrictions on one-time replacement of existing manufactured homes with a new home, or one that was manufactured within five years, are mandates under the proposed amendments. Attorneys said these restrictions would illegally circumvent or supersede state law— specifically, the Texas Local Government Code.
“The city cannot restrict the number of manufactured home replacements, especially to the effect of phasing out a legally existing manufactured home park or housing option,” attorneys wrote to the city on May 4.
City Maintains State and Federal Laws “Have A Great Deal of Gray Area In Them”
City Manager Josh Selleck said manufactured housing industry lobbyists argue every side of land use, and that some of their interpretations of state and federal laws “have a great deal of gray area in them.”
“As you can imagine, their stance is on the opposite end of the gray area from ours,” Selleck said. “Additionally, they do not fully understand how this ordinance interfaces with our existing ordinances, and as a result, they jump to conclusions that are inaccurate.”
“That said, we believe it is in the best interests of our community to postpone this item until we are able to review it one more time with outside legal counsel and other experts in the field.”
No timetable has been scheduled for when the proposals might appear again before the council.