Council approves moratorium on manufactured home redevelopment

Staff to seek code changes to preserve parks

To help preserve manufactured home parks as more affordable housing options in Sequim, city councilors recently enacted a six-month moratorium on redevelopment applications for those parks if it is for any project other than manufactured homes.

For the moratorium, city staff were directed to consider zoning options, such as a manufactured home overlay to protect park residents from potentially losing their homes in a redevelopment project.

Councilors unanimously made the decision for a moratorium on Aug. 14 in response to continued concern from manufactured home residents about losing their homes to potential development.

City attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said under the moratorium, the Department of Community Development is authorized to reject and return any application if an applicant/owner applies to redevelop a manufactured home park for anything other than that type of use.

She said there are no applications in process to redevelop any manufactured home parks.

Unless lifted prior to the deadline, the moratorium will go through Feb 14, 2024, and require a public hearing within 60 days. Each extended moratorium would require a similar public hearing.

Doug Wright, a manufactured home resident in the city, thanked city councilors on Aug. 14 prior to their vote in public comments as he and others have been advocating for months for councilors to change policy to protect manufactured home residents.

“This could begin as a wave that could sweep across the peninsula to help many, many communities,” he said.

City staff identified 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks in the city with 596 existing units with 786 approved dwelling units.

Previously, there was a zone for mobile home and manufactured home parks prior to a 2015 Comprehensive Plan update. Now the 13 parks are within four different zoning districts, according to city staff.

City staff said one option they could pursue would be recreating the mobile and manufactured park zoning designation and a new code designation for these parks in the Comprehensive Plan.

Another option, city staff said, could include creating a Manufactured Home Park overlay that leaves the parks unaffected but that city staff could still create measures and/or regulations for these homes to limit redevelopment or further regulate uses.

At a June meeting, city staff said any changes would need to align with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Municipal Code and land maps. In their Aug. 14 report, staff added that any update would also require a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) public comment period, a Department of Commerce review, and a Sequim Planning Commission review and public hearing.

Staff report that any Sequim Municipal Code changes would reflect legislative changes from SB 5198 and HB 1129 that require landlords to provide notice when listing a park for sale and three years notice when closing or converting it to a different land use.

Alongside policy changes to preserve manufactured home parks, residents also advocated to city councilors and Clallam County commissioners for rent/lease control as they said landlords/owners were increasing rent/leases beyond their capabilities.

State legislation to limit rent/lease increases in manufactured home parks did not pass, and Nelson-Gross said in June the council does not hold rent control capabilities.