West Frankfort Proposes Plan to Eliminate Single-Wide Trailers


By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Jared Roberts

WEST FRANKFORT -- West Frankfort leaders are mulling over a proposal to keep some new mobile homes from moving into town. They say the trailers can be eyesores that bring down property values.

Mayor Tom Jordan says the city is taking a look at a lot of its ordinances because they're far behind other cities in updating them. He feels some folks are moving into West Frankfort to try to escape other towns' stricter codes.
While some folks think single-wide mobile homes are a blight on a community, others believe they're the best way to live independently.
"Being on a fixed income, it's about all some people can afford," says Charles Hutson.
Hutson lives in a single-wide mobile home in West Frankfort, the very kind that city leaders want to eliminate.
"I don't see why they'd want to object to them, most trailers are pretty nice and it's a fairly cheap way to live," he insists.
A proposed ordinance would restrict new mobile homes to only double-wide structures. It would also stop the city from allowing any trailer parks. The ordinance is all about property values and keeping West Frankfort looking nice. So, city officials would rather see a double wide modular home, as opposed to the single-wide trailer that's less expensive.
"You should have a right, after making a significant investment in a neighborhood and in a home, to protect that," explains West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan.
He says many of the small trailers decrease the property value of nearby homes. The current code already requires a mobile home owner to get permission from his or her neighbors before moving in, and city leaders say this extra step will put the city in line with other towns.
"All the communities around us noticed this problem and had this problem and addressed it before we did," says Ed Hammonds, West Frankfort Code Enforcer. "We're in the process now of following up their lead in cleaning up our city."
Hutson admits his home doesn't use the finest materials, but insists if the homeowner maintains the property, living here shouldn't be a problem.
The city council will take up the ordinance change at its next meeting on Tuesday. They will also set a date for a public hearing.
Jordan also says they will start looking into other city ordinances as well. They want to have more power to demolish abandoned structures, require home inspections before selling them, and have businesses register with the city.
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