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Program targets growing problem of (40,000) abandoned mobile homes
Herald Sun .com ^ | 1/04/04

Posted on 01/05/2004 4:46:58 PM PST by Libloather

Program targets growing problem of abandoned mobile homes
The Associated Press
Jan 4, 2004 : 10:14 pm ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Local officials have asked the mobile home industry to help devise ways to remove abandoned single-wides, a growing eyesore they say can hurt efforts to attract jobs.

The N.C. Association of County Commissioners estimates that 40,000 derelict mobile homes lurk in the state's woods and fields. Unlike old tobacco barns that also dot rural North Carolina, single-wides lack rustic charm.

"This is an economic development issue," said Paul Meyer, assistant general counsel for the N.C. Association of County Commissioners. "If a county brings in a prospective employer and they see essentially abandoned homes strewn about, it doesn't make a very good impression."

The glut of empty trailers stems in part from the popularity of mobile homes, which account for nearly one in five North Carolina households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There are an estimated 2,000 uninhabitable mobile homes in Harnett County alone, said Planning Director George Jackson.

Jackson said that even if people had some place to take them, many are so deteriorated that they're no longer road-worthy.

Estimates of the number of abandoned homes may be too high, said Brad Lovin, director of government affairs for the industry trade group. Lovin thinks many of the homes that get counted are actually occupied.

"Homes that some people would call uninhabitable, people are living in there," he said. "That's just the sad state of rural North Carolina."

Harnett, along with Onslow and Burke counties, was chosen for a test cleanup program put together by the commissioners association and the N.C. Manufactured Housing Institute, a trade group.

This winter, the counties will pay contractors to collect and dismantle a small number of mobile homes and recycle whatever parts they can.

The industry helped with the cleanup program, Meyer said, in part to stave off legislation that would tax manufactured housing dealers to help counties pay to dispose of mobile homes.

Also, for an industry that now prides itself on selling homes that appear stick-built, with pitched roofs and front porches, the old metal boxes are an embarrassment.

"That's not what we're building today," Lovin said. "If we can help clean up these older homes, it will help our image."

Meyer said the county commissioners association will decide after the test program whether to back a disposal fee or other legislation.

The program is modest; the industry put up $15,000, matched with $30,000 from the counties. But both sides hope it will be enough to learn how to handle the homes, including hauling and disposal costs, and how counties should take title to them.

Harnett officials have targeted more than a dozen derelict trailers along N.C. 87 between Sanford and Fayetteville, where they would like to see more development.

Unsure who owns the homes, they sent letters to 210 property owners along the road in early December offering to remove the homes at no cost. They had three takers as of the deadline last Wednesday and plan to go door-to-door to solicit more.

John Roberts doesn't want to part with the single-wide in front of his home on N.C. 87, even though it has been empty for three years. Roberts said he keeps it just in case a family member wants to live in it.

He also fears that if he removes it, he might have a hard time getting a permit to put a home there in the future.

"I think we need to hold on to that spot," said Roberts, 43.

A few counties have come up with their own programs for old mobile homes. Scotland County uses a junked-car law to order people to remove empty mobile homes, which are often titled like cars. The county also accepts trailers at a landfill, where workers cut them apart and separate the recyclable steel and aluminum.

Brunswick County collects and dismantles old mobile homes for free, using existing staff and equipment. The coastal county has recycled more than 500 mobile homes since 2000.

"The easy way out is to just put them out of the way and leave them," Harnett County's Jackson said. "And when you have thousands of people doing that, then that becomes a problem."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: 000; 40; abandoned; environment; growing; homes; mobile; problem; program; propertyrights; targets
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To: Libloather
1000 matchbooks, problem solved.
21 posted on 01/05/2004 7:42:23 PM PST by kylaka (The Clintons are the democRATS crack cocaine)
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To: marktwain
It's interesting in some of the colonias here --- they get pretty creative with old mobile homes --- they'll hook them together in an "L" shape or "T" shape --- or hook them end to end, put them side by side and add a homemade building in between to connect them. They'll take an old mobile home and little by little add on various rooms. They get some interesting floor plans that way --- and imagine how nice it is in someways to end up with 3000 sq feet of living space that cost maybe $5000 to $6000 cash.
22 posted on 01/05/2004 8:31:27 PM PST by FITZ
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To: Libloather
Man, I remember when I was doin' a sailor's girl (she was hot but trailer-trashy) many years ago who lived in a trailer. He was out to sea, but I kept hearin' car doors slam, and I knew the only way out was thru the window over the bed....
23 posted on 01/06/2004 12:13:05 AM PST by ATCNavyRetiree
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To: marktwain
People who live on little half acre plots think everyone else must cast aside anything that is not immediately useful. We had a dogged out trailor on our land for years, always knowing it the proper use would arise one day. We built a lake and now the frame is a nice dock. Another one is a ATV bridge.
24 posted on 01/06/2004 12:21:59 AM PST by flying Elvis
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To: Libloather
To paraphrase, "And the sign said, white trash, need not apply, so I put in some teeth....and I said, imagine that, me working for yoooooooo"
25 posted on 01/06/2004 12:25:05 AM PST by I_dmc
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To: Tax-chick
I live in a trailor.

On 200 acres of my own land with several lakes, two pet elk, 25 exotic dear, 5 donkeys, a dog, and most importantly, no neighbors!

26 posted on 01/06/2004 12:25:30 AM PST by flying Elvis
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To: flying Elvis
Sounds nice ... if we had half an acre, it would seem like a hugh place!
27 posted on 01/06/2004 3:57:40 AM PST by Tax-chick (I reserve the right to disclaim all January 2004 posts after the BABY is born!)
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