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Trailer parks seek revisions about development code

(Aug. 15, 2014) The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission will be holding a public hearing later this year regarding request by trailer home development owners to prohibit lengthwise roof pitches.

The commission was petitioned by Glenn Kurka, President of the Isle of Wight Trailer Park, to adopt a mandate that “the roof line of a mobile home must be constructed in relationship to the width of the unit and not with the length of the unit.”

City Zoning Administrator R. Blaine Smith explained that, in the last decade, the city has amended it’s code for Mobile Home (MH) zoning districts to allow homes to be built in place, rather than having to be self-contained trailers.

The roof line limit for such homes was established at a 7-12 pitch, Smith said, allowing some habitable second-story space.

“What has happened is that we have amended the restrictions to MH to say that they can have habitation in the attic space,” Smith said.

But while this was intended to allow one-and-a-half story redevelopments on former trailer-home lots, some owners have attempted to build roofs angled not on the width of the trailer, but on the length, creating a giant peak that would tower over their neighbors.

“It would essentially site like a two- or three-story house,” Smith said.

Nobody has yet done so, but only because of private deed restrictions in the trailer parks themselves.

“We had a couple people in our park that want two-story buildings,” Kurka said. “Our language in the park policy agrees with [not allowing it], but all it takes is somebody on the board who wants to change that.”

“If the code addresses it from the city’s standpoint, no matter what the attitude is from us, you would prevent it from happening,” Kurka said.

Montego Bay Association Secretary Tony Kendrick offered that his association’s bylaws allow members to build their roofs in any configuration – but they may not be habitable above the height of a regular, width-oriented gable roof.

“This is what we’ve always presumed it was supposed to be,” said Commission Chair Pam Buckley.

Commissioner Lauren Taylor asked, if it was simply a clarification of the intended code, if a public hearing was needed.

“It would be a substantive change if they can get away with doing it right now,” said Board Attorney Will Esham.

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