Friday, May 7, 2021
May 7, 2021

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Clark County Council rethinks manufactured-home code

Ordinance would remove restrictions, align with state law

By , Columbian political reporter
Published:

It could soon become easier to build manufactured or modular homes in Clark County.

On Tuesday, the Clark County Council will consider an ordinance that will remove restrictions currently in place on manufactured homes, prefabricated housing that is mostly assembled in factories and then transported and assembled.

The ordinance is part of an initiative launched last year intended to ease the area’s housing crunch by spurring the development of more housing options. Earlier this year, the county council passed a measure easing regulations on accessory dwelling units, small additions to existing houses that typically come in the form of a converted basement, as well as cottage-style housing developments.

According to Laurie Lebowsky, a Clark County planner, the changes are being made to align the county’s code with changes to state law.

“Bottom line, in terms of state law, you cannot regulate manufactured housing more than any other kind of housing,” she said.

The proposed ordinance would remove a large section of code regulating manufactured homes and allow the structures to be placed on individual lots. The ordinance also expands the definition of single-family detached dwellings to include manufactured or modular homes.

The ordinance clarifies the difference between “mobile homes” and “manufactured homes.” A manufactured home, under the ordinance, is a single-family home constructed after June 15, 1976, in accordance with state and federal standards.

Mobile homes would be defined by the ordinance as a transportable structure made before June 15, 1976 that is built on a permanent chassis, is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation and is not a recreational vehicle. The ordinance would allow recreational vehicles in manufactured home parks if they obtain required permits.

Lebowsky noted that covenants, conditions and restrictions prohibiting manufactured homes can still be used by homeowners associations.

Clark County Councilor John Blom said that the ordinance will make the county’s housing code friendlier to industry innovations that could reduce the cost of housing. He said that some companies are moving toward prefabrication of materials for housing to cut down on costs.

He pointed to Blokable, a Washington startup that seeks to mass produce affordable prefabricated housing, as a company that could benefit.

Stephanie Frisch, spokeswoman for the Building Industry Association of Clark County, said her group had no comment.

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