Manufactured Housing Communities/Mobile Home Park Project

Manufactured Housing Communities/Mobile Home Park Project

 

Background: In 2017, the City Council assigned to the Planning Commission consideration of the highest priority strategy from the Housing Strategy Plan: “consider strategies for preserving existing affordable housing.”  The focus of this discussion has been the City’s existing mobile home parks (MHPs).  The City is one of the few communities in east King County with any significant number of mobile and manufactured homes (approximately 250 in six parks).  Under current rules, underlying zoning for the MHPs would allow multifamily and/or commercial redevelopment, depending on location, with no required consideration of impacts to the mobile home community.

 

Staff is unaware of any current efforts to redevelop the MHPs.  In fact, State law requires a one-year written notice to residents if a park is going to be permanently closed.  However, since overall availability of mobile and manufactured housing has been decreasing in King County as parks are redeveloped with other uses, and mobile and manufactured housing has offered a relatively affordable form of unsubsidized single-family housing and is being replaced with more expensive housing, the City Council adopted a moratorium on redevelopment of the mobile home parks (Ordinance 17-0453) until May 11, 2018 to allow time for consideration and discussion of the issues. 

 

Planning Commission Process and Next Steps: A recommendation from the Planning Commission to the City Council is expected this spring.  The Commission has been reviewing background information about Kenmore’s MHPs since last October.  Early on in the Planning Commission’s discussions, Commissioners expressed concern that potential efforts such as regulations or other incentives to protect existing affordable housing in the mobile home parks (MHPs) could restrict new housing supply (by limiting redevelopment) and that this loss of new housing units should also be mitigated. 

 

At their meeting on December 5, the Commission discussed 6 strategies that might result in “no net loss” of either affordability or new density.  Of those 6 scenarios (including the idea of a manufactured housing community overlay as used in Bothell and described in the Housing Strategy Plan), the Planning Commission was particularly interested in three.  Alternative scenarios or approaches may be considered.  The Planning Commission also has acknowledged that it may be appropriate to treat the six MHPs differently, based on their development potential and unique characteristics.

Scenario 1.  (a) For certain MHPs, control redevelopment by rezoning to designate MHPs as a permitted use and limiting other currently permitted land uses, (b) Rezone these parks to allow park owners to transfer their development rights (TDR) from the MHP to another designated area and property where increased density is suitable.  The TDR would be in exchange for the park owner and/or its buyer having to preserve the MHP use of the park.  In this scenario, the park owner could sell its "lost" density to an owner (or buyer) of other TDR designated  property seeking to build higher density housing.  (c) Because Kenmore has limited areas that are suitable for TDR density increases, and because affordable housing is a regional problem, the Commission is interested in pursuing a TDR agreement with other cities to increase the opportunities and likelihood for TDR transactions to occur.

Scenario 2.  (a) Rezone certain MHPs for greater density but require new development to include a certain percentage of units as affordable for residents at a level of income roughly equivalent to the housing costs that mobile home park residents are currently paying.  The goal is for redevelopment to include at least as many affordable units as the number of living units at the MHP that would be redeveloped.  (b) As part of this, provide the current MHP residents with a "right of first opportunity" to rent the newly built affordable units.  (c) For residents who do not want to move into the new units, provide a certain amount of relocation assistance funds to facilitate their relocation.   The relocation assistance amount is a direct financial assistance item to be considered by the City Council.

Scenario 3.  The Commission has been informed that there is a state agency and/or program that assists MHP residents with financing the purchase of their MHP in the event the MHP owner chooses to sell.   The Commission has also been told that this program contains certain financial requirements that make it difficult for residents to borrow funds sufficient to offer a purchase price that meets fair market value for the property.  The Commission is interested in exploring ways in which the City of Kenmore could assist residents seeking to use these programs (i.e., bridge the financing gap) so that MHP residents could finance a purchase at the market price of the MHP. Like relocation assistance, this would be a direct financial assistance item to be discussed by the City Council.

Upcoming Meetings: The Planning Commission has scheduled two meetings in January to hear public input specifically from mobile home park property owners and residents.  All regular Planning Commission meetings are open to the public and provide an opportunity for public comment. The Commission’s regular meetings are the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month (Planning Commission) A Public Hearing will also be scheduled (date has not been determined) that provides an additional opportunity for comment.  The Commission will consider all public input before making a recommendation to the Council, anticipated this spring.

On Tuesday, January 23, 7:00 p.m., at City Hall, the Commission will hold a roundtable discussion with MHP property owners. 

On Tuesday, January 30, 7:00 p.m., at City Hall, the Commission will meet with homeowners/residents from the parks. 

 

To add your name to the email list for this project or for more information, please contact Lauri Anderson at landerson@kenmorewa.gov or 425-398-8900.

 

Last updated: Mon, 01/22/2018 - 3:23pm