Bringing down the (manufactured) house

Published 11:00 am Friday, May 12, 2017

Land bank first in state to get approval for mobile home demo

The Lawrence County Land Reutilization Corporation received a phone call on Thursday morning informing them that they will be the first county in the state to qualify for reimbursement on the demolition of affixed mobile homes.

Administrator of operations Tom Schneider received the news following a meeting with Holly Swisher, of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, on the first of May, to discuss recycling mobile homes and approval for the demolition of affixed mobile homes.

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For definition purposes, any trailer or mobile home that has the axle or tongue removed, that is attached to an existing home, has structure sinking into the ground, or otherwise cannot be removed without destroying or damaging the structure, is considered affixed.

Trailers that can be moved should be recycled. Though the return on recycling is fairly low, once you pay for having the trailer broken down to separate copper and brass from aluminum for recycling purposes, averaging about $350.

Despite the low return, OHFA is a big proponent of recycling, and Stephen Burcham, land bank board chairman, said that the land bank supports it as well, not only because it is the “green” thing to do and the reduced landfill burden, but because they want to be “good stewards” of their funding and work “to extend the federal revenue” that they receive.

If they recycle 20 trailers, Burcham noted, that’s another property the land bank can demo.

He also noted that one of their demolition contractors, Sullivan Construction, can deliver full load trailers and the recycler they deal with, because they deal in bulk, will segment the trailers for them.

The expansion of demolition funds available for trailers will also be useful as the land bank expands its targeting areas as well. They are no longer limited to their old corridor, but structures must be in the line of sight and must be located along the same road.

Another result from the meeting with Swisher is that the land bank can now target multi-unit buildings and structures, if they are otherwise applicable for demolition.

In other action the land bank board moved to re-establish a regular board meeting date, setting those for 10 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month and to accept the donation of a property owned by Ed Rambacher, pending approval by the Pine Grove Farms board of directors.

Rambacher will be eligible for a charitable donation tax credit for the property donation.

The board also approved the bid from Diamond Environmental for asbestos inspection. Though Diamond was also the lowest bid, the other companies who had bid removed their names from the process once they understood that land bank protocol currently prohibits inspectors from also bidding on abatement, to prevent conflicts of interest.

Because of this, the board also approved a motion to amend its contractor policy on abatement, to allow companies to bid on both inspection and abatement if that company used an independent laboratory to verify their findings. If a company used its own lab to verify their findings, they would not be eligible for both inspection and abatement contracts.

The board accepted written offers on eight of the properties where they have demolished existing structures, and awarded on seven of the proposals. Burcham and Schneider reminded the board that the highest bid was not always the “best” bid, because they had to consider the proposed reutilization of the land as well, and whether it added value to the community.

The board awarded a bid on 1820 S. Fifth Street in Ironton to an adjacent property owner who wished to build a garage with an attached apartment ($11,050), awarded a bid on 2433 S. Eighth Street in Ironton to another adjacent property owner who also wanted to build a garage and apartment ($8,000), and awarded a bid on 1509 S. Second Street in Ironton to the CAO for development as additional parking ($10,001).

In Chesapeake, they awarded a bid on a property on Fourth Ave. accepting an offer of $1,600 for the parcel to extend the adjacent property’s boundary. The property is too small to build upon and is within the right-of-way for another adjacent property.

They also accepted an offer of $6,000 for a property on Seventh Street in Ironton that the bidder proposed redeveloping as a small parking area. Like the Chesapeake property, this parcel is too small to build any new structures on.

In South Point, they awarded a bid to the owner of two adjacent lots who has already been maintaining the property and would like to build a large home that utilizes all three lots.

His bid, of $13,500 was also significantly higher than the next bid, at $5,000, where the bidder wished to build a single-family home.

They also accepted a bid on a parcel on Township Road 1361 in Chesapeake. Although the property was assessed at $18,000, Schneider said that the assessment was “overvalued” as the property was landlocked and consisted of unusable hillside. They accepted a bid of $2,500 from the adjacent property owner, to extend his property line.

They rejected a bid on a parcel at 506 Scott and 2207 S. Fifth Street in Ironton, and invited the bidder to make a counter-offer. The original bid, of $5,000, was seen as too low as the property already has sewage and water connections on site, unlike some of the other properties.

They also discussed bids for lot maintenance on the properties they have acquired and demolished.

“We have to be good neighbors,” Burcham said, explaining that grass needs to be cut and the properties otherwise maintained until they can be sold and reutilized.

They also discussed the need for demolition contractors to carry demolition insurance or, if they carry general liability insurance, to obtain a demolition rider for the duration of any demolition project they are undertaking for the land bank.

With the bids on properties already demolished, and interest coming in on properties they have acquired but not demolished yet, the land bank also discussed the need for restrictive covenants to guarantee that land is reutilized appropriately and in a timely manner.