An ordinance was proposed at the Jan. 6 City Council work session that would make changes to the current definition of “manufactured housing” and add a definition for “modular building.”

The memo from the City of Montrose Planning Services explains that modular construction involves building components in a factory and assembling them onsite.

“Factory‐built advantages include more consistent quality control, construction that takes place indoors away from inclement weather, accelerated construction schedules, and flexible design,” the memo states.

Currently, residential modular buildings in Montrose are administered in the same way as manufactured housing, which restricts the zoning districts where construction is permitted. The proposed ordinance, by changing the definitions to clarify that modular buildings are not a type of manufactured housing, would “allow factory-built structures (with review prior to installation) to be built anywhere in Montrose,” according to City of Montrose Principal Planner Garry Baker.

The proposed new definition of “modular buildings” states that “modular buildings used for single-family homes, duplexes, and multiple family residences are allowed in the zoning districts specified for Manufactured Housing, and in addition may be approved as part of a Planned Development.” The proposal also removes “modular homes” from the definition of “manufactured housing” and adds “modular buildings” to Permitted Uses in a Planned Development.

The memo further explains that modular buildings for commercial and other non-residential purposes are currently allowed in any zoning district, subject to the regulations of the zoning district. The proposed ordinance would state that non-residential modular buildings would continue to be allowed in any zoning district, subject to the zone district’s regulations.

In addition, “modular buildings for residential use would continue to be allowed in any zoning district where manufactured housing is allowed, and also in any zone district if approved with a Planned Development (PD) Plan,” the memo states.

A PD plan requires that residents within 100 feet be notified of the building prior to construction in order to be aware in advance of the project and to ensure that the building will fit with the rest of the neighborhood or community.

Baker also emphasized that modular homes extend beyond the typical assumptions. “The modulars are different,” Baker said. “They’re built to state and local standards. They will not be what’s commonly referred to as single-wides or double-wides.”

Baker said that zoning codes should “keep up with the times,” allowing modular buildings as an option in order to expand potential for both residential and non-residential projects.

“It gives viability to projects that would not otherwise happen. Some developers have really good products that could really be an asset to the community,” Baker said. “We want to make sure that every way to get quality development to the community is available.”

If approved, the draft of the ordinance will be put on the agenda for the Jan. 21 City Council meeting.

McKenzie Moore is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press and Delta County Independent.

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