Local policy plays a major role in the preservation and revitalization of manufactured home communities. Across the country, as well as right here in Virginia, local governments are utilizing innovative strategies to ensure that manufactured home communities remain a part of their affordable housing supply. This session provides you with an opportunity to learn about these strategies and the challenges and opportunities that come with them.
Dan Cohen, Director of Community Enhancement, Chesterfield County, Virginia
Daniel Cohen brings more than 30 years of planning and community development experience in the public sector and in private business. Dan has managed several municipal government departments, serving in a director capacity. He directed and managed affordable housing trust fund programs and projects in California and Virginia. Dan served as vice president of acquisitions at Eastern Edge Development, where he sourced investment opportunities. He served as assistant director of development for the City of Norfolk and department head for the City of Atlanta, as well as working for Huntley Partners, Metropolitan Planning Associates, the Orange County Transit District, the City of West Hollywood and Route 2 Community Housing Corporation.
Ted Barclay, Special Projects Manager, Chesterfield County, Virginia
Ted Barclay has worked for Chesterfield County in a code enforcement capacity for 32 years. Ted has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a certified Zoning Administrator. I am currently the Special Projects Manager in the Community Enhancement Department. Additionally, he has been the Secretary to the Chesterfield County Board of Zoning Appeals since 2011. He also created and manage the sign removal program for Chesterfield County. He has lived in Chesterfield County for 38 years.
Karen Prochilo, Housing Development Administrator, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Karen Prochilo has worked for the City of Virginia Beach since 1999. She joined the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation (DHNP) in 2013 to manage the Housing Development Division. Karen has been responsible for a variety of programs under this division including, the City’s workforce housing program, city-wide housing rehabilitation programs, coordination of neighborhood revitalization strategies and the project manager for the Housing Resource Center, a one-stop facility for Virginia Beach’s homeless population completed in 2018. Prior to DHNP, Karen was a senior City Planner with the City’s Department of Planning and Community Development where she was involved in the long-term planning of the City as well as current development projects. She attended Wentworth Institute of Technology for Architectural Engineering, has a Certificate of Architecture from Boston Architectural Center and a degree in Urban Planning from Old Dominion University.
Crystal Launder, Housing Planner, Boulder, Colorado
Crystal Launder works for the City of Boulder’s Department of Housing and Human Services as a housing planner. Her work focuses on housing policy, most recently concentrating on manufactured housing issues. She is the project manager for the Ponderosa Community Stabilization Project, which seeks to stabilize a manufactured home community with failing infrastructure while minimizing displacement. She also helped develop the city’s first Manufactured Housing Strategy and is overseeing implementation of its Action Plan. Launder holds an undergraduate degree in sociology and psychology from Middlebury College and a Master of Regional Planning degree from Cornell University.
Cameron Herrington, Program Manager, Living Cully
Cameron Herrington manages the Living Cully coalition in Portland, OR. Living Cully is a partnership of four community development organizations that are active in the Cully neighborhood: Habitat for Humanity, Hacienda CDC, NAYA and Verde. Cameron leads Living Cully’s efforts to ensure that neighborhood change and investment creates more opportunities for people of color and low-income households to live and thrive in Cully and beyond, rather than leading to their displacement as housing costs increase. His background is in cross-cultural community organizing, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.
Moderator: Vaughn Poller, Neighborhood Development Administrator, James City County
Mr. Poller is presently the Administrator of the James City County Division of Neighborhood Development in the Community Development Department. Neighborhood Development is tasked with managing CDBG and Housing preservation programs at the Neighborhood level and higher. Neighborhood Development seeks to preserve the County’s housing stock and promote affordability for low and moderate James City County households.
To Dan Cohen and Ted Barclay: Several of the parks you showed on the route 1 corridor are small (12 units). The economics of small parks are more challenging — is the county open to the expansion of smaller parks if land is available? Would the county be open to new parks at other locations?
We are open to expansion unfortunately the parks are typically non-conforming and thus are limited to what they are unless they rezone the entire park. We have discussed that with Bermuda Estates. A rezone would require updating the entire park which could be costly to redevelop to a point that it may not make financial sense. We would live to see these parks improve through a rezoning and investment.
To Karen Prochilo: Does the grant threshold for value of the grant to value the unit? For example if the grant is for 50% or more of the value of the unit, would Virginia Beach consider giving it to the owner to put towards a new unit?
The program that we currently have does not allow that, they are currently looking at a new program to include that.
To Karen Prochilo: You mentioned the development pressure around the parks in VB. Does the City have any plans for initiatives to prevent the conversion of these parks to other uses? Is the city engaged in conversation with these park owners about their plans?
We have talked to the park owners. At this time we have not heard back from park owners and a lot of them do not want to sell. Some are located in accident potential zones which limits the use of what can be put on those sites, others are at high noise zones that would not allow residential development. No initiatives at the moment that is why they are trying to talk to MH owners.
To Crystal Launder: I understand that there are several successful resident owned communities in Boulder. What are the most important elements to successful governance of these communities? What are the biggest obstacles to functioning owner associations?
Currently there are no traditional “resident-owned” communities in Boulder; however, one community, the Mapleton MHP, is resident managed. A local nonprofit, Thistle Communities, owns the land and a resident nonprofit, the Mapleton Home Association, operates and manages the community. They have quarterly community wide meetings, monthly board meetings and have focused on streamlining and really professionalizing management. Management isn’t without challenges, however; from what I have observed, a huge part of their success is their passion for community. So in the end, it’s a mix of professionalism and relationships that appear to me to be what is important in Mapleton.
To Dan Cohen: We’ve talked a lot about resident insecurity in mobile home parks; when issuing violations to the “absent owner” at Bermuda Estates, what safeguards prevented the owner from evicting owners whose homes had code violations or passing the cost to the homeowners?
Most of the residents had leases and all the violations that were health & safety were sent simultaneously to the resident and land owner. VPLC [Virginia Poverty Law Center] was also involved and there were meetings that were held on a regular basis to explain what the rights the tenants had, so it was never escalated to that point. There wasn’t an issue. If you own the unit you have to lease to occupy.
To Dan Cohen: When granting any infrastructure funding to park owners, does Chesterfield include deed restrictions or the like?
There are funds that are set aside but because this process happened very recently it is on a case by case basis.
There are many elderly and disabled persons in mobile home parks. What are you all doing to increase accessibility?
Karen Prochilo: Virginia Beach has programs for accessibility requests (not just ramps but also bathrooms).
Cameron Herrington: Living Cully has programs for low income homeowners. Many people want to live in MH for accessibility because it is a 1 floor plan.