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Sun., Feb. 17, 2008

House passes bill to make buying parks easier

Trying to preserve mobile home parks – which one lawmaker termed “our last bastion of affordable homes” – lawmakers in the state House of Representatives late Friday unanimously approved a bill to make it easier for tenants or community groups to buy the parks.

The bill, headed to the Senate, is a rare victory in Olympia for mobile home preservation. Dozens of bills aimed at helping mobile home owners and parks have popped up, and the vast majority have quietly died.

Among the recent casualties:

“A bill by Sen. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley, to allow counties to site new mobile home parks outside normal urban growth limits.

“Another that would have created a tax credit for banks that help groups buy and preserve mobile home parks.

“One to exempt the homes from property taxes.

“One to exempt them from real estate sales taxes.

“A proposed $4 million “mobile home park relocation fund.”

“A bill restricting the sewer and stormwater fees the parks can be charged.

“One allowing the cancellation of back taxes in some cases.

Lawmakers are still wrestling over House Bill 3133, which would have required landowners to give three years’ notice for the closure of a mobile home park. A proposed amendment pares that back to two years. A Senate version of the bill has died.

– Richard Roesler


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