Planning Commission Wrestles With Future Zoning of Mobile Home Parks

Tamarac Manufactured Homes Developer Outlines Progress of Project

~ by Bob Volpe ~

The Woodland Park Planning Commission grappled with key changes to city codes and zoning during a work session last week.

The commission is conducting a series of work sessions, aimed at closing loopholes and bringing zoning and codes up to date.

The most pressing issue is to set zoning regulations regarding manufactured homes. This became an issue when a highly contested manufactured homes project in the Tamarac area was passed by the commission and council, due to what many considered inadequate zoning regulations. Because current zoning allowed this project to move forward and because the issue was so vehemently opposed by citizens, the city placed a moratorium on any new manufactured housing until the zoning rules could be updated.

This is an ongoing process for the commission. They will be holding at least one more work session before sending their recommendations to the council for approval or denial.

In the latest draft, the commission updated the definition of manufactured homes, modular homes, and mobile home parks. The current zoning of mobile home parks is commercial zoning. The new zoning will be designated as mobile home parks (MHP).

The draft designates the differences between a mobile home, a modular home, and a manufactured home and clarifies where these structures may be placed. Mobile homes means “a manufactured home built prior to the implementation of the HUD code.” HUD codes means national manufactured housing construction and safety standards.

The changes include defining manufactured homes as “modular factory-built residential structures constructed to the building codes adopted by Pikes Peak Regional Building codes and be in compliance with HUD codes and be installed on a permanent foundation.” It also limits mobile homes and manufactured homes to the new zoning called MHP.

According to Planning Director Sally Riley, the two existing mobile home parks will not be affected by the zoning changes, nor will the Tamarac manufactured homes project.

La Barre Project Update

Following last week’s meeting, developer Pete La Barre provided TMJ with a brief update of the progress of his Tamarac manufactured homes project, a proposed development that often drew packed crowds to the council chambers. The outcry over this development is one reason that the city initiated a moratorium on future manufactured homes bids.

However, La Barre and other developers have described their effort as a good way of addressing the city’s shortage of affordable housing units and lack of smaller dwellings. Housing for local workers has become a growing problem in the community.

La Barre stated his Tamarac project is going well and he has recently received conditions from the city to finalize the site plan and grading plans.

He said he hasn’t sold any units yet at Tamarac but that he has a list of about 100 people who are interested in the units. He explained the lack of sales on not having a final occupancy order for the units. He said, “Once we have that we can move forward with collecting deposits.”

La Barre hopes to have the first units installed on the Tamarac property by the end of summer. He said, “There are a lot of things that still have to be done. The lots have to be graded, the streets have to be put in, curb and gutter. One of the conditions for the certificate of occupancy is that all of the development has to be completed. (curb and gutter, roads etc).”

La Barre is also working on a development in Falcon and one in Delta. He said, “What we want to do, is do this one extremely well and use it as a model to use elsewhere.”

La Barre said he recently visited a development in Fredrick, Colorado called Curry Green where they are doing a similar project, but with bigger modular homes on foundations. He said, “Their lot rents are right in line with what ours are.”

The Tamarac project was an extremely volatile subject for many citizens of Woodland Park and has prompted the city to put a moratorium on future similar projects until the planning department can update codes and zoning to deal with such projects.