Lake Norman & Mooresville

Some are troubled by mobile home purchase

Investing in his first double-wide home has been a bittersweet experience for David White of Mooresville.

Some of his neighbors see nothing sweet about it.

Although he's happy that the city decided to allow the mobile home in the Mooresville Mill Village, he's still without a home and facing criticism from some neighbors.

The Mooresville Board of Commissioners voted last month to allow owners to replace rundown mobile homes in Mill Village.

The decision generated a lot of discussion among commissioners, because it went against the standards set out in the town's neighborhood conservation overlay district. The district originally did not allow mobile homes to be replaced.

Mayor Chris Montgomery broke a 3-3 tie, voting for the change.

But several weeks after the decision, some neighbors are still reeling.

Janice Notestine, a Mill Village resident who lives several blocks from White's new home, said she and several other residents worked for nearly two years on drafting the overlay ordinance.

"We fought tooth and nail for this," said Notestine. "As much effort that went into it, they dismissed one of the most important aspects of it, just because one person bought a mobile home."

Had the commissioners not allowed the replacement of mobile homes, the neighborhood would have had one fewer to worry about, said Notestine.

Instead, the change has set a precedent that mobile homes are there to stay in the Mill Village.

And that means that property values, and the neighborhood's historical integrity, are not likely to improve anytime soon, she said.

Notestine said she hopes to persuade the commissioners to reverse the decision.

Mooresville resident Sue Ritchie said her daughter, Denise Boza, moved into the Mill Village a little more than a year ago.

"I'm a little concerned about when they put a plan into effect and someone comes along saying, 'I want an exception.' It's almost always granted," said Ritchie.

Ritchie, who does not live in the Mill Village, said she feels less secure about investing in a home in the Mill Village.

White's father gave him the tract on East Presley Avenue a couple of months ago. At the time, White was living in a single-wide mobile home on the lot.

According to the Iredell County Register of Deeds, White paid $96,051 for a double-wide mobile home around Aug. 11.

White said construction was supposed to be completed before Oct. 1.

But on Sept. 20, mobile home builder Freedom Homes applied for a permit with the city and learned the home was not allowed in the Mill Village.

Because of the zoning hurdle, construction workers had not completed the home as of last week.

White said he and his three sons, ages 10 to 16, are staying at the homes of White's parents and friends.

Notestine and other residents said White failed to make sure his new mobile home would be allowed on the lot before buying it and demolishing his old home.

But White contends he made Freedom Homes aware of a possible conflict with the overlay district.

White said he purchased the home only after Freedom Homes told him the city had approved it.

"I don't build homes,," he said. "I came to them to buy a home, and they should have taken care of the rest."

Efforts to reach Freedom Homes for comment were unsuccessful through Wednesday.

"I just want (construction) to be done. I just want to move in," said White.

Given the hassle he's endured from the city and Freedom Homes, White said, he doesn't care what some neighbors have to say.

"They're not from here," he said. "... The town was here a lot longer before they came, and it'll be here after we're all gone."

He said his immediate neighbors haven't said anything negative about his new home, except that they're ready for the construction to be over.

Ritchie questioned why White didn't decide either to invest in a house or to place his new mobile home outside the city limits.

White said he preferred the mobile home because it takes less time to construct.

As for moving, White said four generations of his family have lived in Mill Village.

"I've lived here my whole life. Why would I want to move across town?" he said.