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Re: SG-W:/ Manchester Township grapples with mobile home plan



I suspect that Barry's comment was half in jest.  Of course, no one has 
enough money to buy up all essential agricultural land--either fee simple or 
development rights.  We need to have effective land use zoning so that 
long-term interests of the people of the State of Michigan are protected.  
Unfortunately, too many of our state  legislators are invertebrates...and the 
others just don't know any better.

All zoning in Michigan is a power of the state.  Instead of merely delegating 
that authority to local units of government, the state should exercise its 
authority to protect the public health, safety and welfare through state 
"overlay" zoning (or whatever one would wish to call it).  It would be easy 
to designate those areas--from a statewide perspective--which would be most 
desirable to retain in agriculture.  Statewide zoning would better withstand 
the legal challenges of developers.  The zoning could even have voluntary 
enrollment provisions with specific tax benefits--much like P.A. 116 and/or 
the Commercial Forestry Act.  That's just one idea.

The other needed tact is to change the state laws which practically mandate 
trailer parks be built in any community where a developer chooses to do so.  
The Commission overseeing the trailer park industry is comprised almost 
exclusively of people who have a financial interest in building mobile home 
parks.  By law, anyone with a financial interest in developing trailer parks 
should be EXCLUDED from the Commission....or at least relegated to minority 
representation.

Two legislative changes should be done immediately:
1)  Remove the property tax advantages of trailer parks.  The term "mobile 
home" is truly a misnomer.  Although, theoretically, mobile homes can be 
moved--and therefore are not an "attachment" to the land, subject to ad 
valorem (general) property taxes--most are no more "mobile" than any house 
which could be relocated.  Have them pay property taxes and developers lose 
the financial incentive to build them.

2)   Enact a state law to empower local communities to PROHIBIT any and all 
trailer parks if the population of such "parks" would exceed 10% of the local 
communities population.  As an example, Superior Township already has two 
trailer parks and a third one is being threatened by a developer.  If this 
third trailer park is constructed, nearly half of the Township's residents 
would reside in trailer parks!
Incredible, isn't it!?

Remember, trailer parks are not "affordable" housing.  They are not 
economical at all, but merely a clever guise to unjustly enrich certain 
developers.  In fact, if someone lives in a mobile home park...that's 
probably the best way to keep them poor (since they are paying rent--for the 
lot--and paying a mortgage on an asset--the house--which will most likely 
depreciate).

Well, that's my two cents worth for today.  If anyone has some good contacts 
with legislators...maybe you could broach these suggestions with them.

- Jack Smiley



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