According to planning director Randall Tyndall, the concern with the previous minimum housing standard was basically towards housing manufacturing inventory in Duplin County and the conditions of housing in certain areas.
After a review of the main housing ordinance from 1989, Tyndall and the planning board discovered there had been no amendment, revocation or revision since that time; therefore, the planning board deemed it necessary in 2007 to review the ordinance to see if it still met the commissioners standards.
Of the many issues that needed to be addressed, the planning board identified that the old ordinance did not mention who prepared the ordinance; therefore, people had no idea who to contact.
The planning further noted that there was no index to the original ordinance.
“It is very hard to find where to go without an index,” Tyndall explained.
Tyndall further listed that a lack in segregation of requirements, exclusion in definition of homes and zero talk about home transportation were additional areas of concern.
“Law enforcement authorities did not have authority to make complaints (previously), but now they and residents in the county have the power to make complaints,” Tyndall said.
While the new ordinance is “not quite as stringent as in other counties,” the board will look at structure and structure alone; rather than age, roof type, excreta.
On March 15, the planning board received comments from the board; on March 23-26, members advertised the new ordinance to public via a website; on April 14, the board considered the final comments; and April 20, they approached the board again asking to adopt the new agenda into action.
Before adopting the agenda, chairman Cary Turner asked the audience for comments.
Duplin County resident Thurman Herring approached the podium with a question regarding mobile homes being pulled into the county.
“Obama says you can put lipstick on a pig and make it look better. That is what they are doing with the mobile homes,” Herring said to Tyndall and the commissioners.
He added, “You are not protecting the citizens, if you are not protecting the homes.”
Chief building inspector Atlas F. Thigpen answered, “We try to work with the customer. Arrangements with lighting for him to make repairs can be made temporarily. Then we will go back and do a final inspection.”
“The ordinance basically says we don’t have an age limit,” Tyndall added. “This basically allows us to draw a line ... As written, it would allow homes to be grandfathered.”
Herring then asked, “Are we allowing homes to be built with the same walls that burn so quickly?”
“Yes, sir,” Thigpen responded.
“These old homes will burn down quickly. I’ve seen it ... I’ve been there. This is something that needs to be addressed.,” Herring stated, adding that he is hopeful the board will consider adding an age limit “to stop it (a problem), before it starts.”
“I have a question,” commissioner Reginald Wells said. “We have counties with ordinances that must state the age of the mobile home. If I’m from Sampson, Wayne or Harnett and I know Duplin doesn’t have it, then I’m going to throw trash here. What can we do to not be a dumping ground for junk?”
“We recommended looking at conditions rather than the age because the age can be hard to determine,” Tyndall returned.
“I wouldn’t let my dogs live in some of these homes,” Wells illustrated as the condition of some homes in Duplin County.
“If the board would like us to put an age limit, fine. We are willing to do whatever the board asks us to do to address issues and concerns,” Tyndall added.
Commissioner David Fussell said, “These manufactured homes come with titles with manufactured dates, so it wouldn’t be hard to find the age.”
“I am not disputing what you said,” Tyndall stated, “but part of the process of turning a home into real property involves turning in the title.”
“That is after it is set up,” Fussell answered. “It has to have a title while getting set up.”
With the discussion closed, commissioner Zettie Williams made a motion to adopt the ordinance as it stands. She was seconded by Wells.
“Could we come back later and add an age regulation?” Fussell asked Tyndall, who responded with a yes answer.
With a unanimous vote for approval Tyndall concluded that he would be back with an age limit to add to the new ordinance.
Jessica Wagner can be contacted at 910-592-8137 ext.122 or reached by e-mail at email@example.com