Protecting the value of residential property is the main reason behind two ordinances passed by the Minden City Council targeting mobile homes not located in a designated park.
"We set some requirements and stipulations for mobile homes when you place them," city building official Brent Cooley said. "We had no criteria that required you to put adequate entrances and exits and skirting. Utilities have to be connected correctly."
One ordinance deals specifically with the age of the mobile home being placed, as well as minimum standards and accessibility requirements.
"We really didn't change anything except if you put a mobile home on a lot zoned R3, that mobile home can't be more than 10 years old," Cooley said. "We are trying to eliminate people bringing in these 30-year-old mobile homes that are ready to be demolished, putting them on a lot, spending a couple of hundred dollars to fix the holes in the floor and then rent them out to people.
"It just kills the value of the surrounding property," he continued. "It breeds all sorts of problems."
Mayor Tommy Davis said current zoning laws will stay the same where placement is concerned. Mobile homes are allowed only in areas zoned R3 or in mobile home parks, however, the second ordinance deals with the lot size.
"Standards of lot sizes had to be changed," Davis said. "We reduced the minimum lot size from 6,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet. People are continuously having to come to the zoning commission to get a variance to put a residence or mobile home on those lots. It's not their fault that those lots were built years ago."
The largest areas of town zoned R3 are Crichton Hill and the area around Martin Luther King Drive including Lee Street to Ewell, described by Cooley as the oldest parts of town.
"We found ourselves doing variances on multiple occasions because they were just a few hundred square feet short of the space," said Cooley, who made the recommendation after the council decided not to eliminate mobile homes from those areas. "Back in the 1920s, very few people had cars, so those small lots were just how they did it."
Cooley said the best thing to do is check with his department at Minden City Hall before placing a mobile home. He said he has known of instances where a mobile home had to be moved after it was placed.
"We had one move six feet because it was sitting on our utility easement and out in the street right-of-way," he said. "If you don't get the permit first and talk to us at the city, it can be quite expensive – in addition to the cost of moving it again."
According to the ordinance, the mobile home owner can be denied utilities if they do not meet all the requirements.
Failure to comply means a fine and possible jail time. The perpetrator could be fined from $50 to $500 and may be imprisoned for up to six months.
Although both ordinances passed, District C councilwoman Magaline Quarles cast the lone dissenting vote during Monday's meeting.
"I want us to put those trailers in trailer parks," Quarles said. "I want the people living in these mobile homes to be able to get out of them and buy a home."
Quarles said she believes owning a residence, other than a mobile home, would be more cost-effective for the resident.
"If they would budget right, they could do it and the government will match their funds," she said. "Then they would end up with a note of $300 or $400 a month, instead of paying rent on a mobile home of $600 or $700 a month. Those are misplaced values."