I recently attended a public hearing assembly held by the Union Springs planning commission and I was dismayed by the number of requests to install mobile housing units within the city limits. Union Springs has an affordable housing shortage and providing a means to relieve this problem is needed. However, it seems as if these mobile units will be squeezed into any available space with little regard to the impact they will have on their neighbors. One proposal was to bring in a minimum of four to six mobile units on 5 acres of land on Industrial Park Rd. This sounds like someone is interested in building a trailer park.
There are other remedies that can be used to relieve our housing issues. Many of the vacant buildings in our downtown would be perfect as condominiums with retail space on the ground level. Centrally located to the major thoroughfares, this would be quite attractive to young singles or newly married couples who cannot afford to live in Pike Road.
An effort to build two or three-bedroom single family homes would also attract families with children or elderly parents for the same reasons.
One indicator of neighborhood stability and viability is the number of owner-occupied homes in the area. If the City of Union Springs wants to attract high paying jobs and reduce the number of residents who move out looking for modern homes and conveniences, then we need to encourage building single family homes vs. mobile homes.
When I use our highways to travel to the surrounding cities, I am awed by the newly built homes that dot the countryside. Let us not limit ourselves to a vision of who we will be in the future by who we are now. If someone can afford to rent, they can afford to buy. There are many programs which will educate and assist renters into becoming buyers.
Finally, let us consider the age and code requirements of these proposed mobile units before granting approval. Do these older units meet the current standards of insurability? Changes to existing structures must meet current building standards; the same should be required for new mobile units.