A local lawmaker’s bill to expand opportunities for mobile homes across Maine has cleared a key hurdle.

Democratic Rep. Cheryl Golek, who represents Harpswell and part of Brunswick, proposed amending local zoning laws to allow mobile homes on single-family lots, a practice that is currently restricted in many communities.

The Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Housing recently voted unanimously to advance the bill.

A road in Linnhaven Mobile Home Center named after the Scarponi family, who owns the park. Luna Soley / The Times Record

“This bill would increase affordable, unsubsidized housing opportunities for low-to-middle income Mainers,” Golek said in a statement. “Today, not only are manufactured homes indistinguishable from site-built homes in quality, but they are much quicker to build. This bill would amend current lot restrictions and provide folks with more accessible housing options in the community of their choosing.”

Gov. Janet Mills and several organizations, including the Manufactured Housing Association of Maine, the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition and Maine Center for Economic Policy, support the bill.

“Manufactured housing appreciates at roughly the same rate as site-built housing when sited on owned land,” Josie Phillips, policy fellow at the Maine Center for Economic Policy, said in a statement. “Purchasing a manufactured home not only provides housing stability to the purchaser, but also an opportunity to build wealth.”


Laura Mitchell, executive director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, testified last month during a public hearing on the bill that building a traditional home in the state can take more than a year and cost at least $300,000, while manufactured housing can be produced faster and at a fraction of the cost.

“Maine is in a housing crisis and demand outstrips supply,” she said. “This imbalance is only predicted to increase. Producing new affordable housing is vital and we need the state to support options that residents themselves can build, such as manufactured housing, because federal and state subsidized programs can only go so far.”

The Maine Municipal Association was the only organization to testify in opposition to the bill. Rebecca Graham, a legislative advocate for the association, said the initial version of the bill includes language that any local requirements other than zoning requirements, especially in communities without zoning, applied to single-family homes can no longer apply to manufactured homes.

“The language effectively strips municipalities without zoning of their only tool to establish any municipal requirements in place now and requires them to adopt zoning,” Graham said.

She suggested changing language in the bill that municipalities allow manufactured housing on individual lots anywhere single-family dwellings are allowed, “subject to all applicable land-use requirements as single-family dwellings,” instead of “subject to the same zoning requirements as single-family dwellings.”

“This approach mirrors what is in place for tiny homes, currently allowing them to be placed anywhere single-family dwellings are placed but requiring them to meet the same land-use requirements expected of stick-built, single-family dwellings,” she said.

The bill faces additional votes in the House and Senate in the weeks ahead.

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