Public Hearing

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 18, 2010

Hearing will seek input from public

By Billy Davis

A public hearing is scheduled for July 12 to hear opinions about proposed regulations for mobile homes, Panola County’s land commission announced Monday.

The hearing will be held in Batesville, at the county courthouse, when the land commission rotates from its most recent meeting, which was held Monday in Sardis.

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The Panolian has reported in past months that commissioners are expected to recommend new rules for the transport and set-up, and maximum age of mobile homes in the county.

Among the most controversial suggestions is a 20-year limit for mobile homes that are moving onto new property in unincorporated Panola County.

Such a rule would exempt, or “grandfather,” all mobile homes – regardless of age – that are already located in the county.

“The ultimate goal, over time, is to get rid of the older mobile homes,” commissioner Danny Jones said Monday during a brief discussion of the topic.

Jones also pointed out that a letter to the editor that ran June 11 in The Panolian was incorrect, when it claimed county government planned to outlaw all older mobile homes. The letter was allowed to run with an editor’s note describing the commission’s stated intentions.

Other commissioners expressed concern about the 20-year time limit, calling for a less-severe cutoff point.  

As the topic wound down, some commissioners suggested moving the time limit to 25 years.

“You have some low-income people – that’s all they can afford,” said Verna Hunter.

“But they’re the people we’re trying to keep from getting burnt up,” replied Jones, referring to several fire-related deaths in 2007.

Hunter also suggested that a mobile home could be exempted if it appeared to be in “excellent shape,” even if it is more than two decades old.

Tim Holliday presented still another scenario: if a 20-year rule is in place, an unsuspecting person could purchase a mobile home, unaware that it is too old to be allowed into Panola County.

The public should be made aware of the rule if it’s passed, he said.

Other commissioners, while agreeing with the concern, pointed out that much of the public is unaware of the county’s current zoning rules, now in place for more than a decade.

Jones acknowledged that the topic is a “touchy subject,” but he pointed out that older-model mobile homes are being pushed out of neighboring counties that already have zoning rules.

“We don’t want to get dumped on,” agreed commission chairman Danny Walker.

Commissioners are proceeding with approval from the Panola County Board of Supervisors, which oversees the commission and has ultimate authority over county zoning.