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

A local lawmaker’s bill to expand opportunities for manufactured housing in Maine received support from several organizations during a public hearing this week.

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

“There is an antiquated stigma against mobile homes that has infected people’s perceptions of manufactured housing,” Golek testified before the Joint Select Committee on Housing Tuesday. “Most local zoning codes prohibit the placement of these dwellings, because they are deemed not to be in line with a community’s aesthetic vision. They are misperceived to be eyesores.”

Golek said allowing manufacturing housing on single-family lots would offer an affordable alternative to traditional site-built houses, helping to ease the state’s housing crunch.

She said when she was a child growing up in Brunswick, her mother had to fight neighbors and zoning officials to move a manufactured home on her family’s land on Thomas Point Road.

“Eventually, she persevered, and my family and I were able to move out of public housing and into our new home,” she said. “It provided us a financially accessible alternative to the site-built houses that were so far out my mother’s price range.”


Golek now owns the Thomas Point Road property and is planning to build an affordable housing development there.

Representatives of several organizations, including the Manufactured Housing Association of Maine, the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, Maine Center for Economic Policy, Maine Association of Planners and Gov. Janet Mills’ office, testified in support of Golek’s bill Tuesday.

Laura Mitchell, executive director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, said 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,” Mitchell 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.”

Josie Phillips, a policy fellow with the Maine Center for Economic Policy, highlighted census data that showed as of August 2023, the median sale of a manufactured home in the Northeast was $132,500, while the median sale price for a single-family home in Maine that month was $378,000, according to Redfin.

“Because manufactured housing appreciates at roughly the same rate as site-built housing when sited on owned land, purchasing a manufactured home not only provides housing stability to the purchaser but also an opportunity to build wealth,” Phillips said. “This wealth can be critical to ensuring a household’s financial stability for decades if not generations to come. Equitably expanding opportunities to build wealth can also boost overall economic growth and make the economy more resilient in the face of recessions.”


Greg Payne, senior advisor on housing policy in the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, said the bill has the potential reduce housing production costs.

“There has been a great deal of bipartisan interest in exploring further investment in manufactured housing in Maine, especially as construction costs rise,” he said. “This proposal makes clear that manufactured homes must comply with state and federal standards, and ultimately allows more options for households who seek desperately needed housing in our state. We see no reason why this approach to housing creation should continue to be sidelined as an option.”

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 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.

Lawmakers are expected to act on the bill in the coming weeks.

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