The Daily Citizen
By: Mark Millican
August 26, 2010
CHATSWORTH -- Mobile home dealer Jeff Sams said a decision by Murray County government to limit the age of mobile homes that could come into the county several months ago was "just not right" since he and others in the industry are watching what they sell.
"That's the rules that I feel like we all should go by," he said of state legislation that goes into effect on Sept. 1 that allows mobile homes built in 1976 or later to be moved into counties despite any county ordinances banning older manufactured homes.
But some still have safety concerns about the older models of "manufactured housing" becoming fixtures on the landscape.
On Wednesday, Sole Commissioner David Ridley called a special meeting for the last reading of the county's new manufactured housing amendment on the record in time for Sept. 1. It includes giving the code enforcement office the right to inspect each mobile home before a "C.O." or certificate of occupancy, is given so the home can be set up.
""I think it's good that they're inspecting them individually ... kind of what I've advocated for years, that you do it just like a stick-built (home)," said Steve Noland, a former chairman of the Chatsworth-Murray County Chamber of Commerce. "You don't want to single out people, it's got to be something that's across the board."
A veteran of the concrete construction industry, Noland noted there is a need for manufactured housing in the county.
"There's houses in the county that have been inspected but that are not 'livable,' but people live in them," he said. "You do what you can afford. My concern comes from the safety issue ... I think (the inspections are) good, it does put some regulation on it. A lot of us have thought that if you were going to go to the point of regulating the age, why not just inspect any of them that come in? That way you've got a pair of eyes on it that can actually see it. I think it was a good move (to pass the amendment)."
Chamber President Dinah Rowe said after the meeting she is also concerned with safety.
"All I'm concerned with is the older people and the children, especially," she said. "I'm concerned with everybody, but I'm just concerned with some of the senior citizens and children who reside in those homes -- I just want them to be safe. That was my concern, to be sure that our code enforcement will do the inspection to the best of anyone's ability. So, I guess we have to trust that. But I am concerned that we keep our citizens safe."
Sams, the president of Payless Homes and Storage Buildings on Highway 76, sells refurbished mobile homes and says safety is also a concern with him. Asked about the new inspection procedures, he replied, "Absolutely, I've always been in favor of that."
"I don't want to sell somebody something that's got potential structural or electrical or plumbing problems, "he said. "I totally agree with that (amendment). The problem I had with their five-year ordinance was that it was discriminatory. If you owned a thousand acres and you have a mobile home over in Whitfield County, you couldn't put it over in Murray County if it was five years and two days old. That's just not right. That's when the state stepped in and said, 'Look, we're not going to regulate the year models, we're going to inspect them and make them safe and habitable,' which is fine.
"I'm going to check and make sure the electrical and plumbing's in order and put a warranty of 30 days on it, because if something goes bad it's going to go bad the first five minutes you turn the power on."
Building inspector Joey Arnold said the county will follow some "generic guidelines" for inspections that the Association County Commissioners of Georgia has developed.
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