NORTH ATTLEBORO — Representative Town Meeting members Monday knocked down a planning board proposal to ban the creation of new mobile home parks, saying the market itself will control expansion of the parks based on demand.
Planning board members put up the article, saying with six parks already established, the town has plenty. Mobile home parks are only allowed in commercial districts, which detracts from potential tax revenue the town could gain from those plots.
Town Planner Nancy Runkle said an existing 12-acre mobile home park pays around $27,000 in taxes a year, while a neighboring retail development on an 11-acre plot pays $97,000 to the town. Individual mobile home owners do not pay property taxes to the town. Instead, the park pays a lump sum for the property value.
But RTM members knocked down the proposal, saying it would limit the amount of affordable housing options in town.
Though not included by the state in affordable housing numbers, mobile homes are significantly cheaper than other housing options.
The planning board article would not limit existing parks from expanding or renovating their sites.
But several RTM members said instead of placing an arbitrary ban on new mobile home developments, the town should let the open market play out. Developers would not invest in the properties unless there is a need, they said.
The article was knocked down by a close margin, with nearly half of RTM voting yes and half no. It needed two-thirds approval to pass.
RTM members also approved a temporary moratorium on recreational marijuana sales through the end of the year without discussion. Town officials said the temporary ban is needed to give the town time to set up its own regulations before sales go in effect. They are still waiting to hear what the state requires this spring.