Developer eyes Bayview for manufactured homes

"Comment on mobile home parkSouth Whidbey residents who want to learn more about Sam Spencer's proposed mobile-manufactured home park on Thompson Road can do so at a meeting Saturday, April 7 at the Bayview Senior Center. The meeting begins at 1 p.m.A Bothell developer unveiled plans this week to place 75 manufactured homes on 51 acres of land in the Bayview area to create a small community for singles and couples ages 55 and up.Sam Spencer, a real estate broker with Bothell's Commonwealth Brokerage Services, said Tuesday he hopes to build a rural neighborhood of equal or higher quality than the Wheel Estates mobile home park on Brooks Hill Road, a park he owns. Although it is still early in the planning process, Spencer has signed a sales contract with the owners of adjoining, rural-zoned 15-acre and a 36-acre parcels of land near the intersection of Thompson Road and Highway 525, a contract he will sign only if building the development proves feasible under Island County regulations.Feasibility is the rub in this case. Although Island County does allow the construction of mobile-manufactured home parks on rural lands, its comprehensive land use plan addresses only smaller parks between 10 and 20 acres in size.Spencer said he is not interested in building a small park, because a community of that size could not generate enough members' dues to pay for a property manager. A property manager is necessary, Spencer said, if a mobile-manufactured home park is to be properly maintained.Without a manager, these communities tend to go downhill pretty fast, he said.Also of concern for Spencer is traffic access to the proposed development. He said building the housing community will hardly change traffic patterns on Thompson Road, which residents would use to access the park along with a right-of-way on property fronting the road. The intersection of Thompson Road and Highway 525 is one of the most dangerous on South Whidbey, with nothing except two stop signs in the way of traffic controls. Spencer said that fact might force him to pay for much of the cost of a signal light, if the state Department of Transportation required it. If that happened, he said, he would likely abandon his plans.We're going to be out of the picture real fast, he said.Overall, Spencer said the development would have little impact on the South Whidbey community. He said park residents would place no burden on the area's school system and only a small burden on public services.People already living on Thompson Road disagree with this low-impact assessment. Jennifer Sand, a Bayview resident who owns property on Thompson Road, said the development would be a drain on the area's water supply and would snarl traffic at the highway intersection.That would be a disaster, she said of the traffic.Sand and other Thompson Road residents will get their chance to ask question and comment on the project Saturday at the Bayview Senior Center. Spencer is holding an informational meeting for area residents who might be impacted by the project. He notified a number of nearby landowners by letter of his intention to build a mobile home park.Spencer has not established prices for the homes in his proposed development. He said homeowners would lease residential plots from his management company, then place the home of their choice on the land. "

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