By Conrad Dudderar
Plans to develop a manufactured home community just east of Yukon have been rejected.
The Oklahoma City Council, at its Aug. 31st meeting, voted 6-2 to reject applicant Dact, LLC’s request to rezone a 51.53-acre property at 10801 Old Highway 4.
Property owner David Syler had sought council approval to rezone the undeveloped property from I-2 (moderate industrial district) to PUD-1820 (planned unit development district).
The developer had proposed about 250 mobile home lots west of the Kilpatrick Turnpike and north of Old Highway 4, not far from Yukon High School.
Ward 1 City Council Member Bradley Carter made the motion to reject the rezoning request, seconded by Ward 4 Council Member Todd Stone.
Also favoring the motion to reject were council members Barbara Young (Ward 3), Nikki Nice (Ward 7), James Cooper (Ward 2), and Mark Stonecipher (Ward 8).
Voting “no” on Carter’s motion to reject were Mayor David Holt and Ward 6 Council Member JoBeth Hamon.
Attorney Jason Lowe spoke on behalf of a group of protesters who attended the Aug. 31st city council meeting.
“The main concern the residents have in the surrounding area, and what I have as well, is that no new manufactured homes have been built in Oklahoma City over the last 23 years,” said Lowe, the District 97 state representative.
Lowe referred to “assertions” and “promises” made by the applicant in public meetings that are not specified in the PUD language: Proposed home sizes, the community’s appearance, storm shelters, a gate surrounding the property, and management living on site.
Attorney David Box, on behalf of the applicant, had pointed out Oklahoma City’s planning commission and city staff recommended approval of this PUD application.
Box noted this proposed manufactured home community is “consistent” and “compatible” with Oklahoma City’s Comprehensive Plan by providing affordable, workforce housing needed in Oklahoma City.
The plan – adopted in 2012 – directs the planning commission and city council to “specifically find places for manufactured and modular housing,” he added.
“There are an abundance of single-family neighborhoods and single-family homes throughout this community,” Box told OKC council members. “What we don’t have is a diversity of housing options.
“This application would provide a diversity of housing options through manufactured homes.”
The attorney referred to the “stigma” that exists against manufactured homes.
“It’s a type of person that people are worried about,” Box said. “At the end of the day, this is single family of a different variety, next to what will be single family.
“It is important to note the closest house, today, to this is 820 feet away. We are bordered on the east by the turnpike, on the south by a railway as well as industrial, and ag land on the north. This is compatible with the surrounding environment.”
Box told council members that ad valorem taxes on manufactured home properties are collected in “different buckets” than traditional residential homes – the land is taxed as real estate and the structure as personal property.
“But it all still ends up in the same place and in the same amount,” he said.
Council member Carter said manufactured homes are taxed “much differently” and school districts receive less ad valorem tax revenue.
“The house is on wheels, so that doesn’t get the same kind of tax as a ‘brick and mortar’,” Carter said. “You’ve got one year, maybe a year-and-a-half, and you’ll have every single house and lot put into place.”
In traditional housing developments, he noted, homes are built out over “multiple” years.
“With mobile homes, school districts don’t get the same kind of ad valorem tax (benefit), but they get in the influx of students within a year to two years,” Carter argued. “This goes into a Yukon school system, which is already way heavily overcrowded and facing many financial issues.”
‘DEPRECIATE’ IN VALUE
Stone, the Ward 4 council member, reminded the applicant’s attorney that Oklahoma City’s Comprehensive Plan “is a plan – it’s not a policy.”
Stone opposed this manufactured home project because these homeowners would not own the land – and he said real estate is what “creates generational wealth.”
“Would you buy a home and let someone else retain the land underneath that home that you had absolutely no voice in?” he added.
Stone believes these mobile homes would “depreciate” in value, unlike real property.
“I don’t see it as a good deal for someone trying to break into home ownership,” he said.
Applicant Syler, of S.W. 15th Terrace in Yukon, tried to counter that argument.
“It allows somebody to stop renting an apartment and create some equity in a home,” he said. “It’s their home. They get the comforts of having their own driveway right in front of their home. They can plant grass (and) they can play with their kids out in the yard.
“They can live like the rest of us want to live.”
Syler referred to the “superior quality” of manufactured housing as compared to the past.
He then showed a video of the last mobile home community he developed 23 years ago in Oklahoma City with 800-2,400 square foot homes.
“We’re very, very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” he told city council members. “It is really well maintained, good quality. … three-car parking, sidewalks, landscaping.
“They’re gorgeous and they offer the ability for people to have an option of not renting and not living in apartments, but actually being homeowners.”
The applicant hired a certified real estate appraiser to perform a market study to determine any impact a mobile home park would have on the surrounding residential properties.
Bob Grace, of Midwest City, presented his findings at the Aug. 31st Oklahoma City Council meeting.
As a “case study property,” Grace chose the Country Estates mobile home community near S.W. 15th and Czech Hall Road in Yukon.
The appraiser said this development is “surrounded” by several small subdivisions on the south and north – and a Mustang elementary school is across the street.
“We looked at 77 (home) sales that occurred in the last year or two in that subdivision immediately to the south of the case study property,” Grace told council members. “What we found is there’s no diminution in market value.
“The real estate professionals who listed these homes and sold these homes said there’s no diminution in value.”
The mobile home community that Grace used in his market study was adjacent to a neighborhood where Ward 3 City Council Member Barbara Young previously lived.
“I purchased a home in that neighborhood in 2014,” Young shared. “And it was significantly lower priced that other homes of the same size in different areas. And it was directly attributed to that mobile home park and its condition at the time.
“Between the auto burglaries and some other events that went on, many of those arrests came out of that mobile home park. I’m not by any means suggesting that everyone who lives in a mobile home is of that nature, but that’s my personal experience living in that neighborhood and it’s one the reasons that we moved.”