Make A Good Impression

If the City or County zoning official blocks your effort to site your home, you can appeal. Subdivision developments or petitions to re-zone are heard at public hearings, usually before the local Planning Commission. Variances or deviations from zoning ordinance requirements are usually heard by the Board of Zoning Adjustments. The following guidelines will apply to most public hearings. Be prepared.

  • Request an application to appear before the authority having jurisdiction (Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments, City Council or other governing body.)
  • Complete the application, providing very thorough and accurate information.
  • Provide all documentation requested in the application (plats, photos, plans, etc.).
  • Pay all processing or application fees.
  • Keep up with all the developments that involve your application.
  • Prepare for the public hearing.
  • Anticipate and prepare for any questions or concerns that may be addressed.
  • Know the neighborhood. Has it been abandoned by site-built developers? Is it rural? Are there other manufactured homes? Is it a deteriorating neighborhood where your new home would be an improvement?
  • Attend the meeting as scheduled to present your case.
  • Show them. A picture is worth a thousand words. Don't let the review board think "trailer". Take photos of the type of manufactured home you are attempting to site. Outline any improvements you plan to make. Help the review board draw a picture in their mind of a nice home, providing excellent housing for the community.
  • Do not refer to your home as a "trailer" or "mobile home". Use only the term "manufactured home". Use the term "multi-section" instead of "double-wide" and "single-section" instead of "single-wide". Better yet, let them know it is your home. Don't allow others to label your choice of housing.
  • Be prepared to make an emotional appeal. Don't let the Planning Commission or other governing body forget they are dealing with real people – you & your family.
  • Don't be intimidated by the process. Government officials are only people. You have a right to make an appeal, and variances and other zoning changes are often granted. It might be to your benefit to have written approval from adjacent property owners. Also, you may want to bring those in support of your petition to the meeting.
  • Try to schedule an appointment with the Planning Commissioner or City Council member from your district. Introduce yourself and share information about your home and manufactured housing in general. Get a preliminary vote of approval. It's usually more difficult to reject a request in person. If the official from your district votes to approve your petition, often the other members will concur.
  • If the Planning Commission or Board of Adjustments denies your petition, you still have other avenues of appeal. Within most municipalities, the City Council will usually hear appeals of Planning Commission or Board of Adjustments decisions. Plan for the City Council meeting in the same way you did for the initial hearing.
  • If your request is denied after exhausting all administrative appeals, legal action may be your only remaining option. You may want to consult a local attorney who is familiar with land-use law.