Boyle gets modular homes

September 24, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

When Lisa Anderson saw trucks bring two houses down her street, she had visions of her property value plummeting. The houses came in halves and arrived on wheels.

Anderson thought someone was trying to make a mobile home park out of the last bit of her subdivision. The last lots in Regency Subdivision off of East Main Street have sat empty for more than five years after the developer and owner of the property filed for bankruptcy.

What Anderson saw trucked in were modular houses, the first two truly modular homes in Boyle County, according to P&Z. She called Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning, which asked the owner of the houses to wait for an inspector to come out. P&Z wanted to make sure that the houses were modular and not "manufactured."

In Danville, manufactured homes are not allowed to be used except in what is commonly referred to as mobile home parks. There is nothing in the P&Z ordinance, however, that restricts modular homes.


What's the difference?

Both manufactured and mobile homes are constructed in factories and are carried to a lot either on or pulled by a truck. A manufactured home keeps its metal undercarriage, the wheels come off and frequently it is put up on piers. A modular home is a closer relative of the stick-built or traditionally built home. It is lifted off the undercarriage and put on a foundation.

Young developer in his first venture

A 23-year-old developer in his first venture has purchased some property in the Regency Subdivision, and is putting up modular homes. Breck Dorton is a recent Centre graduate who managed rental property while he was going to school.

"We've gone by the book from day one," Dorton said, referring to how he has been studying the subdivision restrictions and P&Z regulations.

After the first two modular houses are complete, Dorton plans to build a stick-built house next door so that people can compare.

Each of the houses will be 1,500 to 1,600 square feet. The modular homes are built in northern Ohio by Housing Enterprise.

Dorton doesn't understand why Anderson is concerned.

"These are good-looking houses," he said.

Each will have brick and stone fronts and garages.

Joedy Sharpe, who has been a builder here for 30 years, said modular homes are as good or better than a traditionally built home, one that is constructed on the lot where it will sit.

He said that he has a friend in Vermont who does nothing but modular homes, and that many large-tract developments in Lexington have modular houses.

Builder has "cost control"

Modular homes "provide the builder with cost control," he said, explaining that, in a factory, rain doesn't delay construction, there is less waste than with traditional homes, and no opportunity for theft of supplies or equipment.

"To the best of my knowledge, there are not a whole lot of differentiating factors" in quality between a stick-built and a modular home.

"You can get a $100,000 to $500,000 modular home."

Developer Mike Montgomery lives down the street from Dorton's modular homes. He said the houses could be better than the stick-built home he lives in.

His neighbor, Lisa Anderson, was skeptical, but said, after talking to Montgomery, that if the houses really are as good as stick-built and sell for a good price then she will welcome them to the neighborhood.

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