Cape Girardeau City Council overturns P&Z, OKs manufactured home on Fountain St.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Cape Girardeau City Council overturned a decision of the city Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday night, voting to allow a homeowner to replace an aging house with a new manufactured home.

Alfred Farrar will now be allowed remove the home at 804 N. Fountain St. that he acquired from family members in 1970 and install a manufactured home on the foundation and basement. The council approval, on a voice vote with one dissent from Councilwoman Debra Tracy, needs a final vote in two weeks to become official.

During a public hearing on the request, Nick Pruitt of Clayton Homes in Festus, Mo., said that once the home is installed, it will be indistinguishable from a home built on the site.

He also assured the council that the home meets all applicable city building standards.

"This is an affordable alternative to site-built housing," Pruitt said.

For Farrar, who remained silent through most of the discussion, the approval is an opportunity to renew a property that has become run-down over the years and is far below modern building standards.

"It needs a lot of repairs and doesn't have any insulation," said Farrar, a retired maintenance worker for Southeast Missouri State University.

The planning and zoning commission voted against Farrar's request because city codes bar the installation of manufactured homes on single lots. Manufactured homes typically are built on a metal frame that can accommodate axles and a towing hitch that allow them to be moved from place to place.

During the discussion Monday evening, much of the talk focused on whether manufactured homes have improved enough from their original mobile home incarnations to be acceptable as permanently installed homes on individual lots. Sarah Wallace, a planner for the city, said the issue is being included in the overhaul of zoning codes that is underway.

During a discussion of Farrar's plans during the pre-meeting work session, zoning commission chairman Bill Hinckley sought to defend the 7-0 vote against Farrar, also on grounds that the issues raised were being explored. But under questioning from Knudtson, Hinckley said blocking Farrar just because it is a new idea wasn't a strong enough reason.

"The reason to turn it down because we haven't done it before is a lousy reason," he said.

Knudtson said he's willing to accept the heat if the home Farrar installs shows itself to be unsuitable. The area near North Fountain Street has several run-down homes and Farrar may have found an affordable way to rebuild housing stock, Knudtson said.

The council on Monday also approved two contracts for projects funded by the parks and storm-water sales tax approved by voters in April 2008.

The council awarded a $1 million contract to Oliphant Golf Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., for rehabilitation work at the Jaycee Municipal Golf Course. The contract was awarded during the second bidding round on the golf course. Originally budgeted for $1.5 million, bids received in February ran from $260,000 to $600,000 higher. A scaled-back plan was rebid and other work originally included will be performed by parks department staff.

The council also awarded a $1.3 million contract to Zoellner Construction of Perryville, Mo., for renovations to the Arena Building. The Arena Building project, with a budget that was also $1.5 million, is on a tight schedule with completion expected by mid-August.

"The plan is to have the building finished for the fair," said Dan Muser, parks director.


Pertinent addresses

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

804 N. Fountain St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

3280 Perryville Rd., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

410 Kiwannis Drive, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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