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Modular home causes debate in Cary neighborhood

Posted July 8, 2009
Updated July 9, 2009

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— The big lots and the quaint brick homes in the quiet Hillsdale Forest subdivision in Cary were part of the reason Joe Lete and his family moved to the neighborhood.

It's what attracted other residents, as well.

Some residents, however, say they are now upset that a residence that looks like a manufactured, or mobile, home is going up in the neighborhood at 1182 Fairlane Road.

"We have real stick-built homes, and this does not look like a stick-built home," Carol Price said. "It looks like a doublewide."

Residents say they are concerned that the unit won't hold up in a storm – like Hurricane Fran, which caused damage to the neighborhood in 1996 – and that it will devalue their home and property values.

"People have been very, very upset about it," Price said.

Cary allows manufactured homes in only three designated areas of the town. Officials say that even though it looks like a mobile home, it is actually classified as a "modular" home.

Modulars are allowed in Cary because they meet more stringent, state building codes than mobile homes, which are manufactured according to lower-quality federal standards.

Sill, neighbors say it sits on stacked cinderblocks and has no foundation and can be moved.

"At any time, I could put wheels on it and drive it away, which again, makes it a mobile home," Lete said.

Town officials say the unit, which was put up two weeks ago, must have a brick and mortar foundation before the residents can move in. It must also pass additional inspections before then.

"It appears that the developer or builder has done everything they would need to meet our ordinance and requirement," Cary inspections director Russ Overton said.

Most subdivisions have restrictive covenants that would prohibit modular homes, but Hillsdale Forest does not have a homeowner's association.

Town Councilman Jack Smith says he understands the residents' concerns. He is having town attorneys look into whether a stricter code on modular homes is possible.

"There's nothing we can do, or anyone in Cary can do," Price said. "If you allow modular homes in your subdivisions, you can get this."

Residents of the home could not be reached for comment.

127 Comments

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  • awomnsptofview Jul 10, 2009

    ROFL @ Localyokel

  • LocalYokel Jul 9, 2009

    I wonder if Town Councilman Jack Smith can prohibit poor people from living in Cary?

  • marcuseasom Jul 9, 2009

    Modular Homes are built to state code just like stick built houses. I'd even say better, because it can be moved down the road and not fall apart like most of those stick built homes would. It is also state code that that home have a permanent foundation under it. What these unfortunate new homeowners are dealing with is a bunch of ignorant people. That home will stand up to any storm a stick built would and then some. The days of 12 wides are over! Wake up it's affordable living.

  • O I C Jul 9, 2009

    I feel terrible for the people who are just trying to live their life as best they can. How unfortunate their neighbors can't appreciate the beauty in making the best out of what one has...

  • Tax Man Jul 9, 2009

    Sounds like a real nice bunch of neighbors.... I don't think I would want to live there anyway.

  • vsusu2002 Jul 9, 2009

    A situation like this happened to a relative of mine a year ago. He and his neighbors complained because a mobile home (not modular) was being placed in their neighborhood. The neighbors were upset because their property value would decrease. I realize that some people are concern about their property value especially if they are planning to sale, but I also believe other people have to get what they can afford. So, enjoy life and stop complaining about materialistic things as you cannot not take a house, car, or money with you once you leave this world.

  • Chevelle Mackaroy Jul 9, 2009

    Modular home, manufactured home...I grew up up in a trailer. It is not what you live in, it is your state of mind. I know some very classy and educated people who live in a trailer. I also know many people who live in expensive houses that have a trailer park mentality!

  • GravyPig Jul 9, 2009

    Amen Mjones3. Although I do kinda like Bon Bons.

  • awomnsptofview Jul 9, 2009

    WTG liveitup... My brother and his wife live in a beautiful modular home also. They have a manicured lawn, drive very nice cars, a nice garage with its own manicured lawn and make around $80k a year. Cary just needs to get over its self !

  • GravyPig Jul 9, 2009

    Shortcake, I would imagine that the HOA was doing this and not the Town of Cary. But it could also vary by neighborhood. I live on the dodgy end of Cary, now if I lived in say Preston or Lochmere, then I would probably be getting complaints for my slightly shaggy lawn (which I'm gonna mow tonight) and my well weathered fence.

    This would probably not fly in another neighborhood. I'm so glad I don't have HOA.

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