NEWTON GROVE — The question of approving a zoning change to allow modular housing was in question during the Newton Grove town meeting earlier this week. A request for the change was presented at the meeting last month and brought up again Tuesday night. It eventually won approval from the Newton Grove Board of Commissioners.
A request made by David Whitt and Diana Ivosic to approve a zoning change to allow modular homes in the town’s residential zone was made at the August meeting. Questions arose in regards to the change and it was referred back to the zoning board for their recommendation. The zoning board did meet early in the week but did not have the needed quorum to approve the change.
Faye Lewis, zoning officer with the Council of Governments, told the board that due to the lack of a quorum, the zoning change was automatically approved and was now being presented to members for their OK.
“The zoning change would add modular home, single family dwelling, constructed in accordance with North Carolina building code standards for assembly on a permanent foundation under the town’s zoning ordinance for residential district R-20 and would be a permitted use ordinance if approved by the town board,” stated Lewis.
Commissioner Steve Jackson asked if the board had to approve the ordinance? “I am not against the change but I just want to make sure we are not opening a can of worms here,” cited Jackson.
Several other board members offered similar concerns.
Board attorney Billy Sutton responded, “After reading the letter from the modular home industry’s attorney, I am fairly certain that if we were pushed on this legal issue they would be successful in legal proceedings against the town for approval,” expressed Sutton.
A modular home, as defined in the ordinance, is a dwelling unit constructed in accordance with the standards set for in the North Carolina State Building Code and composed of components substantially assembled in a manufacturing plant and transported to the building site for final assembly on a permanent foundation. Among other possibilities, a modular home may consist of two or more section transported to the site in a manner similar to a manufactured home (except that the modular home meets the North Carolina State Building Code), or a series of panels or room sections transported on a truck and erected or joined together on the site.
The commissioners concurred that they truly did not have much choice but to approve the zoning change, and the vote was unanimous.
In another matter before the board, the commissioners discussed the proposed ordinance regarding itinerant merchants. A number of questions came up with the wording in the proposal.
“There are several items that need to answered or addressed before we can make a final decision on this document,” expressed Mayor Gerald Darden. “I ask that you, as a board, present me with your concerns and Commissioner Gary Herring and I will go back and make the needed adjustments for us to review at our next meeting. Hopefully we can have a decision on this matter before the first of the year.”
The commissioners entered a closed door session to discuss a personnel matter but no action was taken following the session.