The City of Sequim hosts 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks with 596 existing units and 786 approved dwelling units. City staff continue to look into zoning options that could protect these sites from redevelopment to help protect affordable housing options in the city. (City of Sequim)

The City of Sequim hosts 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks with 596 existing units and 786 approved dwelling units. City staff continue to look into zoning options that could protect these sites from redevelopment to help protect affordable housing options in the city. (City of Sequim)

Sequim extends its mobile home moratorium

City staff to work preserving manufactured housing option

SEQUIM — A Sequim moratorium on redevelopment of mobile/manufactured home parks has been extended through Aug. 14.

The Sequim City Council unanimously approved the six-month extension on Feb. 12 to prevent any redevelopment of mobile/manufactured home parks in the city until a new zone can be created that protects the home types.

Doug Wright, a manufactured home resident, said at the Feb. 12 meeting he sees hope in the city’s actions.

“I see seniors with hope finally because something has been done to alleviate the fear they live with every day,” he said.

Wright said with the city creating provisions to preserve residents’ homes, it “can actually extend life for some of these people.”

Council members directed staff last June to look into a manufactured home overlay to protect park residents from potentially losing their homes to a redevelopment project.

The first moratorium was approved in August.

City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross previously said the city’s Department of Community Development is authorized under the moratorium to reject and return any application if an applicant/owner applies to redevelop a manufactured home park for anything other than that type of use.

Kim Mahoney, a principal planner with LDC working as a consultant to the city on the council directives, said on Feb. 12 the planning commission agreed to focus efforts on three things: revising goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan for manufactured home parks; adopting a new zone, zone overlay, and/or zoning code language; and establishing a housing authority to purchase manufactured/mobile home parks or support nonprofit preservation organizations, resident buy-back programs, or resident-owned communities.

According to city staff, a Manufactured Home Park overlay doesn’t affect the parks, and measures and/or regulations could be created to limit redevelopment or further regulate uses.

Staff members report they hope to have changes approved by the city council in August with multiple opportunities for public comment throughout the coming months.

The planning commission will work the next two months to review the three options sometime in April or May, and the commission’s recommendations will go to the city council for consideration for possible edits, according to city documents.

Through May, staff also will draft Sequim Municipal Code language and Comprehensive Plan materials, such as maps that show proposed options.

Between May and July, city staff plan to issue a State Environmental Policy Act threshold determination with a public comment period, and then refine materials for the state Department of Commerce for review.

In July, the planning commission will host its final public hearing prior to council recommendation, and the city council will host public hearing(s) in July and/or August.

Within the city of Sequim are 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks, with a total of 596 existing units and 786 approved dwelling units.

Sequim previously had a mobile home/manufactured home parks zone prior to a 2015 Comprehensive Plan update, but now the parks are within four different zoning districts.

Manufactured home residents have testified for more than a year to city leaders and staff that rent and/or leases continue to go up and that many of them are on fixed incomes and increases are making it difficult to buy necessities.

They’ve also feared that, as manufactured home parks are being sold, they could be redeveloped.

Judy Hatch, a manufactured home resident, spoke at the city’s Feb. 6 planning commission meeting, saying her park has seen an increase of $125 more a month and that, for some people, that equals their monthly food costs.

She’s also been concerned about her park’s owner potentially selling and losing her home to redevelopment without anywhere to go.

“You can’t move these mobile homes,” she said. “We live with this every day. I wake up every morning asking, ‘Is this the day I have to be out?’”

Annette Hanson, another manufactured home resident, said on Feb. 12 concerns for manufactured parks has been much of her and other residents’ focus as she’s seen her rent increase by 51 percent the last three years.

“If you look at the profits (owners) are making, it’s outrageous,” she said.

Hanson also encouraged the city council to protect manufactured home owners.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of newspapers Peninsula News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at matthew.nash@sequimgazette.com.

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