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Pearsall city councilors have unanimously passed an ordinance that will no longer allow conditional-use permits for mobile homes in undesignated areas of the city.
The amendment to the ordinance followed extensive talks by councilors, together with residents’ concerns voiced during town hall meetings.
“We have our city manager and city attorney here,” Mayor Ben Briscoe said during the Tuesday, October 10, meeting. “We are going to change how we do things.”
According to City Manager Federico Reyes, the ordinance will now prohibit mobile homes, which are homes built prior to 1976, “just anywhere in the city.”
“The idea is we will allow those in approved manufactured-home areas,” the city manager said. “They will no longer be allowed anywhere in the city.”
Reyes said that residents who currently have an application submitted for a conditional-use permit are not subject to the amended ordinance. However, any applications after the passage of the ordinance will not be allowed.
“The challenge is identifying the parks that were approved and not approved by the city,” Reyes said.
During a town hall meeting regarding zoning concerns by residents, city staff noted that after extensive investigation by code enforcement officers, there are several residents who complete the zoning process backwards. Staff noted that residents would purchase a mobile home, move it onto a property not zoned for mobile homes, then ask for a permit.
“We are allowing modular homes in residential areas like your R-1, maybe R-2 but they will be regulated by zoning ordinance,” Reyes said. “You will not see any more conditional-use permits for mobile homes.”
Councilors quizzed legal counsel over residents who have converted storage units into homes.
“The only time any of this happens is when council lets this happen,” Bobby Maldonado, legal counsel for the city, said. “The ordinance and code are aligned. So when things like this happen it is because the council lets it happen. State statute allows for modular homes because, if built correctly, they are considered a stick-built home.”
Mayor Briscoe told councilors he supported the amendment fully, citing the financial benefits for homeowners and the city.
“I am in total favor of this to keep the value of homes and the integrity city,” Briscoe said.