City Utility Charges

Hello all,

the city where we are operating our park is currently charging based on commercial water and sewer usage charges.

However, the park is a legal non-conforming use that is a mobile home park but is located in an zoning district that is designated “general commercial”. My question is whether or not it is correct and right of the city to be charging us as a commercial use when this property has been used as a residential use far before any zoning designations were in place?

Any advice or experience with this topic would be greatly appreciated.


What is the water and sewer rate difference between commercial versus multifamily based on your monthly average usage? How much monthly savings would you be passing to each tenant (or if you do not submeter how much less would your monthly bill be?) if you got it switched?


thanks for replying. Currently we are master metered but plan to sub-meter. The delta between master-meter billing on a commercial vs. a residential rate comes out to ~$500 to $650 per month.


I’d look up the cities zoning definitions for commercial versus multi family, get a copy of your certificate of non conformance (or applicable equivalent), and ask the water company what the process is to have it changed to reflect your actual property usage.

It might be good to also understand if this city will install individual meters for each home and categorize those as single family residential - if so that supports your argument for a multi family master meter. If you can negotiate the tap fees down for a large deployment it might be a better option than private submeters as many cities also bundle trash service with water meters (but increased road maintenance) - factor things like that into your long term ROI.

Keep us posted.


Regarding the rates being charged, you are apparently grandfathered as a MHP in a commercial zone: Find what jurisdiction set the rates (municipal supplier); if it is your city, request an exception, which may require a formal hearing in front of the city’s judicial board (most likely city council). We have had favorable results.

Also, in our 20+ years in the sub-metering business, we ave often found the commercial rates are lower than the residential rates: In an effort to stimulate commercial development.

When you are ready to move forward, please feel free to contact me.
We’re here to answer your water sub-metering questions.

Dan Helton
Southern Water Management