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Sells threatens lawsuit

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

If Dexter City officials refuse to change the language of an existing ordinance outlawing modular homes from Dexter city limits they could possible be facing a future lawsuit. According to local businessman Ron Sells, who has been attempting to start a modular home subdivision in Dexter, the city has refused him a permit to bring in a modular home and place it on property he owns on Two Mile Road in Dexter. "I went and applied for a permit for a location in Dexter off of Business Highway 60," Sells said. "And they approved it. But when I went in to get a permit for the location off of Two Mile Road they wouldn't allow it." Sells said he was contacted by building inspector James Carney who informed him he would be sending a permit which would be for site-built homes only. "If they do that then that's a denial," Sells remarked. Sometime last week, Sells contacted the Missouri Manufactured Housing Association in Jefferson City. After explaining the current situation, Joyce Baker, executive director of the corporation, sent a letter concerning the situation as it stands right now.

In the letter, Baker explains that in chapter 700, section 700.035 of revised Missouri statutes, a modular hoem carrying a seal provided by the state of Missouri is preempted from having to meet any local building, plumbing, heating or electrical code requirements other than the code established by Missouri. Baker went on in her letter to explain that modular homes meet requirements set by the state and are placed on permanent foundations like conventional site-built homes and are assessed as residential property. The closing paragraph of the letter from Baker reads:

"It is our opinion taht your ordinance prohibiting modular homes from being placed other than in mobile home parks is unconstitutional. Our attorney, James Gallaher of Carson and Coil, 573-636-2177, would be more than happy to answer any questions you have concerning these issues." Sells said he isn't looking to create further problems within the city, but believes the situation needs to be resolved quickly. "We will have our modular homes in Dexter and we hope it can be done professionally enough to where we don't have to go to court over it," Sells commented. "We want to handle this diplomatically without causing any hard feelings."

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