Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Modular Home to be Removed Simply Because Neighbors Wanted Site Built Home

This article from Michigan Live’s website shows our industry still has a long way to go to fight the manufactured housing (HUD) image.

What is very interesting about this is that my Modular Roundtable at yesterday’s Building Systems Council Annual Summit was about this very subject.

Controversial modular home will be removed, developer says

By Sherry Kuyt skuyt@mlive.com
A new home erected in an Allendale Township, Michigan neighborhood less than a month ago will be removed following complaints by neighbors, according to developer Merwyn Koster.
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The 1,387-square-foot ranch is located at 5367 Crestfield Lane in the Springfields III development, north of Pierce Street and east of 56th Avenue.

The three-bedroom home is of modular construction, which means it was built in a factory and shipped in sections to the site, according to Kirk Scharphorn Jr., the township's zoning administrator.

It was placed on a daylight basement foundation on Sept. 19, and work began on the 576-foot attached garage. The electricity and plumbing were not yet hooked up, and siding and other finishing details still had to be done.

Scharphorn said the value of the home when fully completed would be about $230,000. That is comparable to the listing prices of several others for sale in the area.

But when neighbors saw the sections being brought in, they immediately contacted the township with their concerns.

"We have received complaints ... it is apparent that the neighbors do not want to see a non-traditional home go up in the neighborhood," said Allendale Township Supervisor Adam Elenbaas.

He said the foundation had been constructed with an appropriate permit, but the permit request for the building was not submitted until the day the sections were brought in. The township issued a stop work order while the situation was being investigated, but a few days later, a permit was issued.

Elenbaas said the township has no restrictions against modular homes, as long as they meet building codes.

"I had to issue a permit ... it met all the criteria," Scharphorn said.

He said the developer, Koster, had the authority to deny approval of any building that he felt did not meet the standards of the development.

Scharphorn said he was told by the builder, Curt Moran, that there was a verbal agreement in place but nothing in writing.

On Oct. 6, Koster issued an explanation. "Local homeowners and builders in the plat felt stick-built would be in better conformity to the neighborhood," he said.

CLICK HERE to read the entire article.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If built to state code, they are all stick built. Part of the problem is how things are explained and then the understanding of those words.. Roof truss, engineered joist, etc.. all the same. All pre-engineered components that become part of a new build. Our industry calls what we do "homes" when actually they are components that become a home. Many wholesale suppliers (whose names I won't mention) feed this mind set. I recently came across a wholesale suppliers site that actually states within a video "all facets of your new home will be built indoors".. Wrong...... Smells like retail, when they are wholesale, and 100% not the case (which they'll figure out once/ if, they get sued) But it's out there. We are organized lumber yards that make building easier. Can be better, usually not less money, many times faster. This subdivsion thing gets old.. Built to state code, meet the restictions within the subdivison, and you're good. Lets quit saying we are something we are not (homes) and start using the correct terms of who we are (component suppliers).. If all did that on the wholesale end it could help bi-pass situations like this. Too bad for the ownders, developer and all involved. Thanks for keeping stories like this around so all are aware of the issues many builders face as they continue to sell and promote the industry...

Anonymous said...

I wonder why they did not fight it? If everything was in order as the article states, it should not have been necessary to remove. Seems that they caved pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

Anon # 1 has it right about stick built homes. Back when I worked for Design Homes in the 90's, one of our tag lines used the phrase "Stick Built Home". I've been on both sides of the fence in the industry. I've sold stick-built for a moderate sized builder, and for the last 21 years I've been associated with the Factory Built Industry and I am constantly amazed at the short sightedness of the general public. And please don't get me started on the lack of knowledge of the media. This situation is a perfect example. Most consumers would realize the value in having a nearly completed structure delivered, erected and dried in, in less than two days; as opposed to a couple of weeks getting a stick-built under roof and sided. The weather issue alone should make them want a modular. You can call it an educational issue, but it all goes back to the stigma that our industry still carries. It's a hangover from days long past and while the industry has made and is making progress educating the public, there's still a ways to go.

Isaac Lassiter said...

The ordering of any modular home should be preceded by receiving the approval to build the home on the lot in question. Kurt Moran, like every modular home builder in such a situation, should have sought advance written approval in writing from the developer and from the township for conformance to the zoning and building code. To not do so was an error, and his mistake makes the modular building industry look bad.

If there is a lesson to be drawn from this situation, it is that the modular construction faces enough challenges in getting approved under the law. A builder shouldn't proceed with their release-for-production to the factory without having a 'bullet-proof' approval in hand, because a "verbal" agreement is about as valuable in a dispute as hot air.

"the foundation had been constructed with an appropriate permit, but the permit request for the building was not submitted until the day the sections were brought in."

"the developer, Koster, had the authority to deny approval of any building that he felt did not meet the standards of the development."

"Scharphorn said he was told by the builder, Curt Moran, that there was a verbal agreement in place but nothing in writing."