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Council likes less restrictive mobile home regsTell North Platte what you think

Mobile home standards will come to North Platte for the first time in history, if a discussion Tuesday with the North Platte city council is any indication.

The council had no real problems with a set of watered down standards and are poised to act on them at the next council meeting.

The standards will effectively mean homes that are moving into or around North Platte must be 1976 models or newer. They must be in relatively good condition. (the standards are listed below)

Both city and county officials are getting more restrictive about mobile homes.

Lincoln County will prohibit additional mobile homes in rural areas, allowing only homes for a hired hand, city-county zoning administrator Judy Clark said.

The council first voted the standards inside the city limits on Jan. 7, but they tabled the regulations on second reading on Jan. 22 after some mobile home park owners complained.  One of them was Douglas Nelson, the manager of Riverside Park, who told the council that his empty lots are too small for a mobile home that would have 900-square-feet of floor space – one of the initial requirements.

Consequently, the 900-sq.-ft. requirement was deleted from the proposed regulations. That and other changes were made during a 2-3 hour meeting with some mobile home owners, working out a compromise, City Administrator Jim Hawks said.  

Clark said that without the standards, homes that have been condemned in other places, such as Ogallala, have been moved into North Platte.

Building Inspector Norm Franken agreed.

“They come in, they get a $65 permit, and (without ordinances) guess what we get?” Franken said.

North Platte has about 1,300 mobile homes, half in parks and half in lots in other residential (R-4) areas, Clark said. Unlike Kearney, North Platte allows mobile homes to be located outside of mobile home parks, she said.

During the discussion, city councilman Tim Barrett asked Franken if homeowners are allowed to do their own plumbing repairs.

Only if they live in the house, Franken said. Homeowners who rent out the home must hire a licensed plumber to install plumbing or do major repairs on it. 

Barrett, who was once a city building inspector, asked Franken when that became the rule. Barrett said any change should have required an ordinance to have been changed by the council.

Both Franken and Judy Clark said the city requirement follows the precedent of state electrical requirements.

Mobile home owner William Stone spoke from the gallery.

Stone said he had a mobile home that was condemned, and even though the outside looks bad, it is in pretty good shape inside. Stone said if the city won’t let him fix it up, he would have to let it rot where it stands.

“No one intends to prevent the upkeep of existing homes,” Clark said.

After the meeting, Stone told the Bulletin that he bought the home from someone in Ogallala and didn’t realize until after he bought it that the former owner didn’t have the title. He is waiting to get that straightened out, and when he does, he intends to repair the home and rent it out. He said the cost of a professional plumber is hard to recoup because labor costs are typically high in a mobile home, where pipes run in tight space and take longer to repair or upgrade.

“Mobile home residents don’t have a lot of money,” he said.

“What happens to mobile homes when they die?” councilman Martin Steinbeck asked.

Franken said he knows people who can tear one down, deliver the better materials to the salvage yard and put the rest in the trash in one day.

Councilman Brook Baker said the revised standards are fine by him.

"I have absolutely no problems with it at all," he said.

The new proposed regulations say a mobile home that is moved or brought into North Platte must have:

• Solid roof capable of protecting from rain, snow and wind.
• No attached rooms, garages, carports or storage areas.
• Straight walls in good condition.
• Solid, attached exterior trim and panels.
• Solid, attached flashing around roof and openings.
• Straight metal framework, free of structurally corrosive damaging rust.
• Sealed belly wrap that is in the proper place.
• Siding that is free of cracks or holes.
• Vents protected with proper covers.
• Front and rear doors that open, close and latch properly.
• Solid, smooth floors.
• Windows that open and close properly and seal tightly.
• Unbroken glass.
• A working water heater that is properly supported.
• A water heater and furnace that is labeled for mobile home installation.
• Approved piping for gas, water and sewer.
• Working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide dectector.
• Outlets and switches in working order.
• Wheels, transporting light and towing apparatus removed if the apparatus is designed to be removed.
• A HUD inspection sticker and a label that says it is constructed in conformance with the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.

Also, the city will bill mobile home owners for inspection time by the hour, plus mileage and materials.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 2/19/2014
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