MHCO Pushes Back Portland Zoning Changes for MHCs

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Last month the cIty of Portland announced proposed changes for zoning of manufactured home communities within the city of Portland.  The policy driving these changes is to protect this particular type of affordable housing, by preventing MHC owners from closing their parks and converting them to other uses, including other uses currently allowed in the existing zoning district. In other words, the so-called "stability'' mentioned by the city, is achieved by preventing MHC owners from closing their parks and converting them to other uses. While it is true that park owners may apply for a zone change and comprehensive plan amendment if they want to close their park and convert it to another use, the same is true for any other owner of property anywhere else in the city, who wishes to establish a new use that is otherwise prohibited by the city's current zoning code and comprehensive plan. Therefore, the fact that an owner can apply for a zone change and comprehensive plan amendment if they wish to close their park and convert it to another use, does not negate the fact that under the propose MHC amendments, conversion to another use would be prohibited.
MHCO has retained attorneys Bill Miner and Phil Grillo at Davis Wright Tremaine to assist our efforts opposing Portland's latest attack on property rights.  MHCO is concerned that this ordinance impacts many MHC owners in Portland and has the potential of becoming a significant issue for all park owners in Oregon in next year's legislative session.  
MHCO has held several meetings with Portland officials and some progress appears to be possible, although it may be too early to be certain.  Our goal has been to keep current community owners whole - working on concepts that preserves the value of the property.  We will be working on this issue through the summer and will keep you up to date as we move forward.
One concept that we are working on is bonus density.  The basic concept is that where a MHC site is underdeveloped (meaning that the zoning would allow more units than currently exist on site) the city would allow owners a density bonus that can be transferred (i.e. sold)  to the owners of other residentially zoned properties in the area.   Broadly speaking, this concept is known in the planning world as Transfer of Development Rights (TDR).  Our density bonus concept would expand the basic TDR concept proposed by the city, to ensure that all MHC owners have a meaningful amount of density (i.e. dwelling units) that can be transfer (i.e. sold) to other residentially zoned properties.  Our concept would also expand the area (i.e. residentially zoned properties)  whether this bonus density could be transferred to, thereby expanding the market area and presumably increasing the value of the proposed bonus density.
MHCO would like to thank attorneys Bill Miner and Phil Grillo who have provided most of the back ground for this email and for their efforts on behalf of community owners. 
 
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