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Legislator gives no absolutes on zoning

State Rep. Ken Littlefield came to town earlier this week and lent commissioners his ears, but made no promises.

Commissioners wanted Littlefield, R-Dade City, to help change a state law that forbids them from specifically barring manufactured homes from town.

Littlefield said he was only on a fact-finding mission Tuesday, and he wouldn't commit to taking up the fight. He pointed out that only a handful of residents showed up to express interest, and he also noted that many of his constituents live in manufactured homes and might see the argument differently.

"I'm a state representative in a county that leads the state in the number of mobile homes that we have," he said.

The law in question forbids the city from enacting zoning or other laws that treat manufactured homes differently than site-built homes.

Commissioners argued that the rule interferes with city zoning and is an intrusion into what should be a local matter.

"I'm not a radical person opposed to the manufactured homes," Mayor Roy Pierce said. "But the decision to allow them should be a local decision."

Manufactured homes in many cases reduce the property values around them, are not as safe as a site-built home, and are not as aesthetically pleasing, Commissioner Nick Ramirez said.

"Ultimately, (a manufactured home) affects the value of every other home in the community," said real estate agent Carole Petty, who was in the audience.

Ramirez said he had no problem with homes built off-site, then placed on permanent foundations. He said he was opposed to buildings labeled "manufactured" that he said actually amount to mobile homes.

"They drive down property values. This is a fact," Ramirez said.

"It used to be you knew what a mobile home was and you knew what a manufactured home was," Commissioner Olaf Jonasson said. "It's now very muddy."

Without support from Littlefield, Ramirez said he planned to contact State Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, for his help and would also look for a representative to enter a bill that would apply only to San Antonio, blocking manufactured homes from town.

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