[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the City of Taunton 12-15-1992; amended in its entirety 12-22-2008 (Ch. 12.1 of the 2010 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Zoning — See Ch. 440.
There shall be a Manufactured Home Park Task Force established for and comprised of residents of manufactured home parks in order to address areas of concern and determine solutions to problems faced by said residents. The task force shall be comprised of two members and an alternate from each manufactured home park to be selected by their respective park association members. Its members shall determine rules and regulations of the task force. The task force shall represent all manufactured home parks before the Municipal Council, municipal department heads and the Manufactured Home Park Eviction and Discontinuance Review Board.
The task force shall advise the Municipal Council and the municipal departments concerning manufactured home park compliance with any law, regulation or ordinance.
The task force shall make recommendations for appointment to the Manufactured Home Park Eviction and Discontinuance Review Board when any vacancies exist on the Manufactured Home Park Eviction and Discontinuance Review Board.
When used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- HOUSING SERVICES
- Services or facilities provided by an owner or required by law or by the terms of a rental housing agreement to be provided by an owner to a tenant in connection with the use and occupancy of any manufactured home park accommodation, including, without limitation, snowplowing; sanding of roadways; landscaping; landscape maintenance; furniture, furnishings and equipment; repairs, decorating and maintenance; provision of light, heat, hot water, cold water, telephone, kitchen, bath and laundry facilities and privileges; use of yard and other common areas; janitorial service; refuse removal; parking facilities; and any other benefit, privileges or facility connected with the use or occupancy of any manufactured home park accommodations. Housing services to a manufactured home park accommodation shall include a proportionate part of services provided to common facilities of the manufactured home park in which the manufactured home park accommodation is contained.
- MANUFACTURED HOME
- As defined by MGL c. 140, § 32Q, as amended.
- MANUFACTURED HOME PARK
- A park licensed by the Board of Health pursuant to MGL c. 140, § 32B.
- MANUFACTURED HOME PARK ACCOMMODATIONS
- The land within a manufactured home community or park on which a manufactured home or appurtenances are or may be located and over which a tenant has possessory or other rights and interests.
- The individual who holds a license granted pursuant to MGL c. 140, § 32B, to conduct, control, manage or operate directly or indirectly a manufactured home park in any manner, including but not limited to a partnership, corporation or trust. For purposes of this article, the rights and duties of the owner hereunder shall be the obligation of anyone who manages, controls or customarily accepts rent on behalf of the owner.
- The consideration, including any bonus, benefit, gratuity or charge, contingent or otherwise, demanded or received for, or in connection with, the use or occupancy of a manufactured home park accommodation or for housing services or for the transfer of a lease of a manufactured home park accommodation, exclusive of the tax collected by the owner and paid to the City under MGL c. 140, § 32G, excluding therefrom, however, the consideration paid by a shareholder of a cooperative housing corporation organized pursuant to MGL c. 157B for a share of such corporation, a proprietary lease and any maintenance fees associated therewith.
- RENTAL HOUSING AGREEMENT
- An agreement, verbal, written or implied, between an owner and a tenant for use and occupancy of a manufactured home park accommodation and for housing services, specifically excluding, however, any agreement for occupancy of a manufactured home park accommodation between a cooperative housing corporation as defined in MGL c. 157B and a shareholder of such corporation.
- REVIEW BOARD
- The Manufactured Home Park Eviction and Discontinuance Review Board established by § 306-4.
- A tenant, subtenant, lessee, sublessee or other person entitled under the terms of a rental housing agreement to the use and occupancy of any manufactured home park accommodation, excepting from this definition, however, any person who occupies a manufactured home park accommodation pursuant to a proprietary lease as defined in MGL c. 157B, § 4, as a shareholder of a Chapter 157B cooperative housing corporation.
Composition. There shall be in the City a Manufactured Home Park Eviction and Discontinuance Review Board (known as the "Review Board"), consisting of three members, all of whom are to be residents of Taunton, none of whom to be a manufactured home park owner or manufactured home park tenant, appointed by the Mayor for a term of three years. Initially, one member shall be appointed for a one-year term, one member for a two-year term and one member for a three-year term. Should any vacancy occur in membership, the member appointed to fill said vacancy shall serve for the remaining portion of the term of the member creating the vacancy. Any action taken by the Review Board shall require a majority thereof. Within seven days after the appointment and confirmation of the Review Board as aforesaid, the Review Board shall meet and elect one of its members as Chairperson to serve in that capacity for a term of one year.
Authority to grant/deny certificates of eviction; enforcement authority; referral of matters. The Review Board shall grant or deny certificates of eviction as provided under § 306-8 and shall bring such proceedings as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of this article or to enforce any policy, rule, ruling, regulation, or order promulgated or issued by the Review Board under this article. The Review Board may refer any appropriate matter to the Board of Assessors, Board of Health, Building Department or other appropriate departments.
Administrative authority. The Review Board may make such studies and investigations, conduct such hearings, and obtain such information as is deemed necessary in promulgating any regulation, rule or order under this article, or in administering and enforcing this article and regulations and orders promulgated hereunder.
Meetings. Regular meetings of the Review Board shall be conducted and held not less than two times per year and other additional hearings and meetings may be scheduled and called by the Review Board as deemed necessary.
Other authority. The Review Board may make rules and regulations, sue and be sued, compel attendance of persons and the production of papers and information, and issue appropriate orders which shall be binding on both the owner and tenant of such manufactured home park accommodations.
The Review Board shall require registration of all manufactured home park accommodations on forms approved by it. The registration form shall identify each manufactured home park accommodation and shall contain such other information as the Review Board shall require. The Review Board shall accept no application for eviction or discontinuance until all statements and information required to be filed under this section have been filed, and any such petition received prior to such filing shall be dismissed. The owner under the penalties of perjury shall sign the registration form.
The owner shall give written notice to all tenants and prospective tenants concerning the following matters:
The nature of the zoning or use permit under which the manufactured home park operates. If the manufactured home park is operating pursuant to a permit subject to a renewal or expiration date, the relevant information and dates should be included in the notice.
The duration of any lease of the manufactured home park or any portion thereof in which the park owner is a lessee.
Any contracts or leases between tenants and the owner of the park currently in effect. If a change occurs concerning the zoning or use permit under which the park operates, or a lease in which the management of the park is a lessee, or a contract between tenants and park owner, all tenants shall be given written notice within 30 days of such change. A prospective tenant shall be notified prior to the inception of tenancy.
In addition to the notice required by MGL c. 140, § 32P, which shall be included in the park rules, management/owner of the park shall add the following language: "You may also be evicted if the park owner seeks to change the use of his land. Current state law requires a minimum of two years' notice prior to seeking an eviction due to a discontinuance. Other state or local laws may also pertain to this situation."
The provisions of MGL c. 30A shall be applicable to the Review Board established under § 306-4 as if such Review Board were an agency of the commonwealth, including those provisions giving agencies the power to issue, vacate, modify and enforce subpoenas, as well as those provisions relating to judicial review of an agency order.
The Taunton District Court shall have original jurisdiction, concurrently with the Superior Court and the Housing Court Departments, for all petitions for review brought pursuant to MGL c. 30A, § 14.
The Superior Court and the Housing Court Departments shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this article and may restrain by injunction violations thereof.
No owner shall bring any action to recover possession of a manufactured home park accommodation unless:
The tenant has failed to pay the rent to which the owner is entitled.
The tenant is in substantial violation of an enforceable rule of the manufactured home park.
The tenant is in violation of a law or ordinance which protects the health or safety of other manufactured home park residents.
There is a discontinuance in good faith by the owner of the use of part or all of the land owned and licensed as a manufactured home park subject to any existing contractual rights between the owner and the tenant located in the manufactured home park. No such discontinuance shall be valid for any manufactured home sold by the licensee and for which a manufactured home site was made available at the time of the sale by the licensee for a period of five years from the date of such sale.
The tenant is committing or permitting to exist a nuisance in or is causing substantial damage to the manufactured home park accommodation or is creating a substantial interference with the comfort, safety or enjoyment of the owner or other occupants of the same or any adjacent accommodations.
An owner seeking to recover possession of a manufactured home park accommodation shall apply to the Review Board for a certificate of eviction upon forms provided by the Board. There shall be a filing fee of $75 to cover the Board's administrative costs. The applicant shall be responsible for all costs of service and/or mailing. Upon receipt of such an application, the Review Board shall send a copy of the application to the tenant of the manufactured home park accommodation together with a notification of all rights and procedures available under this section. If the Review Board finds that the facts attested to in the owner's petition are valid and in compliance with Subsection A, the certificate of eviction shall be issued.
An owner who seeks to recover possession of a manufactured home park accommodation without a certificate of eviction shall be deemed to have violated this article.
The provisions of this section shall be construed as additional restrictions on the right to recover possession of a manufactured home park accommodation. No provision of this section shall entitle any person to recover possession of such a manufactured home park accommodation. Upon a decision of the Review Board concerning the granting or withholding of a certificate of eviction, either party concerned may appeal to the Taunton District Court, the Superior Court, or the Housing Court Department within 30 calendar after such decision.
The Review Board may issue orders, which shall be a defense to an action of summary process for possession, and such orders shall be reviewable as herein provided.
Application of section. The provisions of this section regarding the discontinuance of the use of part or all of the land owned, leased and/or licensed as a manufactured home park shall apply to all manufactured home parks and manufactured home park accommodations.
Definition of "discontinuance." When used in this section the term "discontinuance" shall include any change of use or discontinuance of the use of part or all of the land owned, leased and/or licensed as a manufactured home park requiring a two-year notice pursuant to MGL c. 140, § 32L, Subsection 8. The term "discontinuance" shall include, but is not limited to, the licensee's conversion of the manufactured home park, or part thereof, to a condominium or cooperative corporation.
Discontinuance without permit prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to discontinue the use of part or all of the land owned, leased and/or licensed as a manufactured home park without having first obtained a discontinuance permit from the Municipal Council subject to the provisions contained in this article.
Application for permit; notice of public hearing; procedures pertaining to Council vote to grant or deny; recommendation of denial.
The Municipal Council shall consider an application for a discontinuance permit for a manufactured home accommodation upon receipt of an application filed by the licensee or other authorized person. The Municipal Council shall forward such application within 14 days to the Review Board.
The Review Board shall schedule a public hearing within 65 days of receipt of the application. Notice of the time and place of such public hearing, and of the subject matter, sufficient for identification, shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication to be not less than 14 days before the date of the public hearing, and by posting such notice in a conspicuous place in City Hall for a period of not less than 14 days before the date of such hearing. The Review Board shall also notify all tenants living in the affected manufactured home accommodations of the time, place and subject matter of the public hearing. No defect in the form of any notice under this section shall invalidate any grant or denial of a discontinuance permit unless such defect is found to be misleading.
No vote by the Municipal Council to grant or deny a discontinuance permit shall be taken until a report with recommendations by the Review Board has been submitted to the Municipal Council or 21 days after such hearing have elapsed without submission of such report. After such notice, hearing and report, or after 21 days shall have elapsed after such hearing without submission of such report, the Municipal Council may vote to grant or deny the discontinuance permit. If the Municipal Council fails to vote on the proposed discontinuance permit within 90 days after such hearing, no action shall be taken thereon until after subsequent public hearing is held with notice and report as above provided.
No discontinuance permit may be granted except by a majority vote of the Municipal Council.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, the Review Board may, without holding a hearing, recommend the denial of a discontinuance permit if a decision has been made with regard to the discontinuance of the manufactured home park accommodation in question within the preceding 12 months and if the park licensee fails, in the new application, to allege a substantial change of circumstances since the previous hearing which would merit the Review Board in hearing new evidence. In addition, the Review Board may recommend denial of the discontinuance permit without holding a hearing if the application is not in conformance with the requirements of this section or other applicable regulations.
Factors for grant or denial of discontinuance permit.
In determining whether to recommend that the Municipal Council grant or deny a discontinuance permit, the Review Board shall consider shortage of safe, decent and affordable manufactured home park accommodations in the City which may result from the discontinuance, especially for tenants of low and moderate income and handicapped or elderly persons on fixed incomes. In making such determination, the Review Board shall make findings of the following factors:
The benefits and detriments to the persons whom this article and this section seek to protect.
The hardships imposed on the tenants residing in the manufactured home park accommodations proposed to be discontinued.
Circumstances demonstrating hardship and inequity to the licensee seeking a discontinuance permit.
The rate of vacancy of manufactured home accommodations in the City at the time the licensee applies for a discontinuance permit and the average rental rates for such available accommodations.
The availability of land zoned and otherwise suitable for development or expansion of manufactured home parks.
The Review Board, in its discretion, may also review other relevant factors in making its report and recommendations.
For the purposes of this section, the vacancy rate shall be defined as that percentage of the manufactured home park accommodations which are empty of manufactured homes and are offered for rental to manufactured home tenants. Further, to be considered a "vacancy," the rental offer of the manufactured home park accommodation must be without entrance fee, without restrictions as to the age, size or character of the manufactured home, and without a requirement that the prospective tenant purchase a manufactured home from the park owner.
In its report, the Review Board shall determine the current vacancy rate for comparable manufactured home park accommodations in the City. Any parties involved may submit evidence presented to the Review Board at the public hearing.
Application for permit within 30 days of service of notice required by state; application to parks sending notices prior to effective date.
The licensee or applicant seeking a discontinuance permit must make application to the Municipal Council for such permit within 30 days of serving the tenants with the notices required under the provisions of MGL c. 40, § 32L, Subsection 8.
Notwithstanding the above, no eviction certificate shall be issued by the Review Board because of the discontinuance of the use of all or a part of a manufactured home park unless the Municipal Council has issued a discontinuance permit.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to manufactured home parks which have sent out notices of a change of use or discontinuance under the provisions of MGL c. 140, § 32L, Subsection 8, prior to the effective date of this article.
The personnel of the Review Board established under the provisions of § 306-4 shall not be subject to the provisions of MGL c. 30, § 9A, or MGL c. 31.