Inherited a small park with small lots


#1

Hello All,

I have inherited a small (zoned for 37 homes) park in Maine. 17 of these lots can hold 14 x 65 max. 20 of the lots are in a middle row, and if left the way they are, they could only hold 14 x 50 and 14 x 40 homes. This lot sits on 2.5 acres and was developed in the 50’s and 60’s originally as part of an air force base housing. I was trying to think what to do with the middle row. I was thinking of lots together end to end. This would reduce the number of lots from 20 in the middle to 10 but would allow me to get either (10) 14 x 70-80’s, or (10) 28 x 44 DW.

My question is, should I do the merging at all, and if so, is it better to go with the single wides or the doubles in this case?

Any guidance would be much appreciated.

-PC


#2

My personal suggestion is no, you should not do it.

These older parks have small lots because mobile homes were basically large RV’s by today’s standards (check out photos of the Imperial Spartans, for example). You can still get homes that fit these dimensions. I believe a couple manufacturers still make some 1/1’s this size brand new. Down south there are a lot of FEMA homes that fit 14x50 as well as older mobile homes that can be rehabbed if you like to do those. Or you can just put RV pedestals out there with 30 and 50 amp connections if not there already.

I would test the RV or small mobile home concept to see if they fit your market and personal preferences before changing your lot schematics, which could potentially open up muni code hurdles - the city will use your desire to change lots as leverage to get something they want…

If you do end up merging them stick with singlewides. The premium from doublewides usually doesn’t produce the same ROI.


#3

Thank you for the reply. With the potential for opening up the municipal codes, would that still apply if I did not merge the lots but rather take two up for one pad? It looks like the ordinance says that lot coverage cannot exceed the coverage from the previous home. So technically the lots would only have half the home in each thereby not increasing lot coverage. I could then say that home is renting lots 1 and 2? Because of the age of the park, I don’t think there are any lot setbacks.

The problem with the 1x1’s to fit 14x50’s and 14x40’s is that its lower than the 750sq ft minimum home size allowed. I’m not sure they will let me do that.

Has anyone had experience with small lot parks? what did you do in regards to the lots if the RV market was not great in the area.

Thanks again for your time.

*My mistake, looks like the smallest home is 450 sq feet.


#4

Whether the city decides to enforce lot lines in your grandfathered park is tough to predict - every city is a little different. I wouldn’t test it personally. You might want to check with an attorney whether the city’s zoning and associated usage ordinances apply to your property…I don’t think it does based on my experience with it, but I am not an attorney and also do not live in Maine.

Typically with grandfathering you can use those lots just as they were used prior to the city implementing the zoning - back then nobody was measuring the exact size of a home and whether the next one was the same size or smaller… Especially with those smaller lots I would want the home to touch all corners as much as possible, otherwise you could only do an 8x40ish park model RV or old school mobile home.