Manila Council rejects manufactured home request

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Manila City Council rejected a request at the Jan. 22 meeting for a manufactured home to be located on Boston Street.

Nathan Sammons addressed the council at a special called meeting Jan. 11 with plans to place a two bedroom, two bath manufactured home on a small lot at the corner of Boston and Park Streets. The home would be rental property. Sammons said all of the city's set-back regulations would be met.

Sammons returned to the regular council meeting on Thursday to address the subject with council.

Council member Dale Murphy said the manufactured home still looks like a mobile home on a foundation.

Councilman Donnie Wagner had Mayor Wayne Wagner read section 1 of the city's Ordinance 175 with the definition of a mobile/manufactured home. The ordinance prohibits mobile homes for rental property in the city limits.

Resident Andy Flannigan who lives near the proposed property said the city has been in the process of getting rid of mobile homes and it seemed to him they would be jumping out of the fire into another. He said as a homeowner he thought it would be a negative for the neighborhood and for the city.

Tony Hawkins, a Manila citizen, said he had seen people living in storage-type buildings that had been brought in and set down. He said what Sammons was proposing would be a nice looking house.

“I've seen them in the Bassett area and they make good looking homes,” Hawkins said.

Councilman Jason Baltimore said if people are living in storage buildings it happened before the city had an enforcement officer.

“That is why we need enforcement,” Baltimore said.

Councilman Steven Milligan said he had letters from four people in the neighborhood against bringing in a manufactured home.

Mayor Wagner read one letter from Lisa and Jerry Hitchcock stating their objections to the manufactured home being placed on the site.

“They are made in Wilson but they are not allowed in Wilson, Councilman Murphy said. “We have to stick to our guns or the ordinance is not worth the paper it is written on.”

Sammons asked about the guidelines for the houses on Olympia.

“Under the present guidelines only one structure would be allowed on the lot,” Mayor Wagner said.

“This is nothing personal against you,” Mayor Wagner said. “It is 100 percent for the citizens of Manila. No one could have built a better home than you did on main street.”

Sammons was asked what the difference was in the manufactured home and building a nice, small house there.

Sammons said the cost and pointed out the limited size of the lot and the time factor since he has a full time job.

Yvonne Hernandez was present at the council meeting and she was asked her opinion since she lives in the neighborhood.

“I can see both sides,” she said. “The plans I saw looked good but I would ask about the quality, how is it built. It is not so much if it is on blocks or manufactured, but it is the upkeep."

Code Enforcement Officer Tracey Reinhart was asked his opinion.

“I'm hired to do what you tell me to do,” Reinhart said. “Personally, I think if you allow this one you will have more requests.”

He went on to say the key issue is do you want to allow the manufactured homes to come to town.

Councilman Wendell Poteet said the manufactured homes are built in a building on an assembly line just like mobile homes.

“Mobile homes are good for five to 10 years, depending on the upkeep,” Poteet said. “If we allow this one then here comes 10 more and we do not want it.”

Councilman Murphy made the motion to not allow the manufactured home. The motion passed unanimously (6-0).

Mayor Wagner gave the state of the city address. He said the city is moving forward with continued improvements in streets, sewer, fire protection, code enforcement. He said a lot of work was done last year and the finances are still good.

“We will have the bond issue paid off this year and we will only have one left, the swimming pool, which is paid through a sales tax,” Mayor Wagner said. “We have the new four-lane highway almost completed.”

He said future plans include street paving this summer, continuing to improve on zoning and annexation.

Wagner said he had met with the annexation committee.

Plans are underway to annex to the south/east taking in residents in the new four-lane highway area and south on Highway 77 to County Road 398; west to Buffalo Ditch; north to Poplar Corner; and east to Big Lake.

“Anyone living in the proposed annexation area may contact Code Enforcement Officer Reinhart, City Attorney Wes Wagner, or me for more information,” Mayor Wagner said. "They can also call city hall at 561-4437."

Mayor Wagner said he feels fortunate to serve with a good council and as he has said for the last six Januarys, the city has improved.

He went on to say the senior center is almost finished for the senior citizens and improvements on the park and pool continue for the youth.

In other business:

*Councilman Milligan was elected to conduct business in the absence of the mayor.

*Mayor Wagner asked all council members to turn in names of any relatives who might do work for the city.

*Councilmen William Barnhart and Wagner were appointed to work with the employees developing a job description for the new senior center.

*Councilmen Milligan, Baltimore and Poteet will serve on the committee to work with the police department and maintenance department.

*Following an executive meeting, the council voted to give the Fire Chief an additional $100 a month and approve Darrell Birmingham to the fire department once his training is completed.*Approved Ordinance 2018-01 adjusting the 2017 budget to meet the actual expenses. Cathy Huddleston, city treasurer/bookkeeper, said the street expenses went over budget.

*The council reviewed and passed the proposed 2018 budget. Huddleston suggested the council adjust the budget monthly or quarterly throughout the year. She told the council if they have any questions throughout the year about the budget, they can come by her office.

*Mayor Wagner gave an update on the new sewer lines being installed saying the work is done halfway between the post office and the school. The city will be out approximately $100,000 with the remaining cost paid through a FEMA grant.

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