Small mobile home parks in Indian River County closer to having flexibility

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY  – Some Mobile Home Parks that offer rentals in Indian River County are a step closer to having flexibility in who can stay at the parks.

The county has agreed to amend its land use codes to allow a certain amount of recreational vehicles move into the smaller mobile home parks. The changes will be sent to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for review and later brought back to the Board of County Commissioners for final approval.

Bill Gorman, manager of Tanglewood Village Mobile Home Park near US 1 and Oslo Road, applauded the county for considering the changes.

“We think it’s a win-win,” he said.

Gorman explained that many of the smaller parks were designed with smaller plots – large enough to fit mobile homes of that time, but in recent years, mobile homes have gotten much larger.

Gorman said that while new mobile homes won’t fit on the lots due to their size and setback requirements, recreational vehicles could.

Tanglewood Village, Ranchland and Holiday Village are the three parks that would be affected by the land use changes. They are 20 acres or smaller.

By allowing RVs to move into the mobile home parks, the cost of upkeep for the park and its communal amenities would continue to be shared amongst the residents.

Gorman told commissioners that if RVs weren’t allowed and new mobile homes couldn’t move in, the parks would shrink over time, putting the financial burden on fewer and fewer residents.

While commissioners seemed generally supportive of the move, some questioned the 25 percent limit on RVs and the type of RVs that would be allowed.

Commissioner Wesley Davis expressed misgivings on behalf of a hypothetical mobile home owner who, through natural disaster lost his unit and moved into an RV, only to find out he can no longer live in that park because the park was already at 25 percent capacity for such vehicles.

“That’s a question for a later time,” County Attorney Alan Polackwich said.

Commissioner Gary Wheeler, who has worked the last couple years on the issue with mobile home park residents, told his fellow commissioners that the land use changes would allow the small parks to be more financially feasible and help them not displace residents.

“You ought to be able to live there in peace,” Wheeler said. “Your home is your home” whether it’s 400 square feet or 4,000 square feet.

Commissioner Joe Flescher was the only one to vote against sending the proposed changes to the Department of Community Affairs. He told commissioners that he had a problem with the 25 percent limit as well as a preference to make the changes applicable only to owner-operated mobile home parks.

He explained that if the changes were to only apply to owner-operated parks, then the residents themselves would have a say as to what type of recreational vehicle could move into their park, otherwise the “decision would be made for the people instead of by the people.”

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