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Mourer calls for freeze on building manufactured homes

Town of Dunkirk Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Mourer wants a moratorium on manufactured homes.

Mourer told the Dunkirk Town Board Tuesday that such houses are not permitted outside of designated trailer parks, and he wants the moratorium so town officials can “clean up the zoning law” and permit them, but be able to control their appearance, he said.

The code enforcer also thinks manufactured homes can detract from a neighborhood’s appearance. “I don’t think manufactured homes are bad, they just don’t add to the neighborhood,” he said.

Mourer’s main problem is with homes that have foundations on piers, with skirting around the perimeter to mask them. “I want to keep the neighborhood’s character,” he said. “I think we need to recommend a full frost (foundation) solution. I don’t think the skirting design is recommended.” He said a full frost foundation on a house makes it look like the structure has a full basement.

In the meantime, Mourer said he has denied permits for a few proposed manufactured homes in the town. Town attorney Jeff Passafaro offered a warning on that.

“Manufactured housing with a HUD (federal Department of Housing and Urban Development) seal cannot discriminate and we appear to do so,” he said. “However, you can regulate, and one of the things you can regulate is appearance — the foundation and so on.”

Passafaro said the town will need a local law to impose the moratorium and must conduct a public hearing before it votes to do so. “You’re going to have to do some definitions and then a policy decision on how you regulate foundations and appearance,” he said.

The attorney said the moratroium can be any length, and board member Henry Walldroff suggested six months. Board members agreed and Passafaro said he will draw up a draft law, then the town board can call a public hearing on it.

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