Citizens speak out against manufactured home park

Published 5:46 pm Monday, December 18, 2023

During the LaGrange City Council Meeting last week, the city held public hearings on a potential zoning change that would allow for a manufactured home park.

Several citizens voiced opposition to a Board of Planning and Zoning Appeals recommendation on a request to rezone 54.2 acres located at 1510 Lukken Industrial Drive from Campus General Industrial Agribusiness (CP-GI) to Special District Manufactured Housing (SD-MH).

The applicant requested the rezoning to place 145 manufactured homes on the 54-acre development. The developer would rent the spaces for the manufactured homes, which would need to be purchased separately.

The planning commission voted 4-1 to support the request with the condition that no used manufactured housing be allowed within the development and that 70 percent of the manufactured homes have front porches oriented toward the interior streets.

Prior to the public hearing, Councilman Nathan Gaskin exited the dais to recuse himself from the discussion. Gaskin said he recused himself because he lives near the potential development.

Developer Jeffery Cook of Cook Properties said the manufactured homes would sell for $95,000 to approximately $110,000. They would still own the land where the homes sit, so the homeowner would need to pay rent for the space.

The total monthly cost would likely be around $1,200 to $1,500 including rent and mortgage if the residents choose to finance the homes, which would be done separately.

Cook said they do not finance the homes, but they help arrange financing.

Bishop LD Parker opposed the rezoning, saying some of the housing the developer is proposing looks affordable and presentable but questioning what happens when they get more run down.

“I’m looking here today and the first one looks wonderful. It looks great and looks presentable. But this one looks like they’ve just taken away the trailer parks and replaced the trailer parks with up-to-date trailers,” Parker said.

Parker said the area in question is an eyesore but to bring in another trailer park just to temporarily beautify it makes no sense.

Brittany Jackson also opposed the rezoning saying there were too many houses for the property.

“I think we can all agree that affordable housing is definitely needed. I feel like this neighborhood will be oversaturated with 145 mobile homes. Three per acre is just way too much,” Jackson said.

“I think a better model would be single-family homes as far as affordable housing goes.  I don’t know what affordable means to most people but $1,300 is not any different from the apartments here. So, $1,300 for a trailer, or sorry, “manufactured home,” is no different. I’m definitely opposed,” Jackson said.

Only the developers voiced support for the potential zoning change.

The city council is expected to make a decision on the zoning change at its next meeting, which was moved forward a week due to the Christmas holiday.

The council meets Tuesday at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.