Equitable Zoning for Manufactured Housing

Zoning Practice — April 2024

By George Frantz, AICP


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In the 50 years that have passed since the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 was signed into law, manufactured housing has remained an underexploited opportunity for providing millions of Americans with decent affordable housing. Only 18 states have laws that ensure local zoning codes do not discriminate against manufactured housing, and historic stereotypes and prejudices still inform many communities' zoning regulations.

There is, however, increasing attention being given to manufactured housing as communities around the country confront the housing affordability crisis. The American Planning Association's Equity in Zoning Policy Guide specifically calls for reforms that establish manufacturing housing as a permissible use in many residential zoning districts, allow for the creation of new manufactured housing communities, and protect existing manufactured housing parks and their residents from displacement. Additionally, President Biden's Housing Supply Action Plan includes multiple actions to broaden manufactured housing opportunities.

This issue of Zoning Practice examines the persistent inequitable treatment of manufactured housing in many local zoning codes and offers considerations for code updates. It begins with summaries of the important role manufactured housing plays in supporting housing choice and affordability and the common stigmas and forms of regulatory discrimination that this type of housing faces in many communities, and it includes findings from a five-state analysis of zoning regulations for manufactured housing.


Page Count
Date Published
April 1, 2024
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American Planning Association

About the Author

George Frantz, AICP
<p>George R. Frantz, AICP, ASLA is an associate professor of the practice in the Department of City &amp; Regional Planning at Cornell University. He has over 30 years of experience in land use, environmental planning, historic preservation planning, and landscape design. His career includes over 15 years in municipal development review in growing municipalities in NY and PA where he was responsible for code and environmental impact reviews for proposed residential, commercial and institutional projects that included a number of large-scale planned unit developments. Since 2000 he has been principal of George R. Frantz &amp; Associates in Ithaca NY, specializing in providing land use and environmental planning services zoning and design services to both public and private sector clients throughout Upstate NY, Pennsylvania, and China. He has won several awards for his planning work, and has given presentations on his work at APA and ASLA conferences at both the regional and national levels. He has conducted research and has spoken on the topic of planning for agriculture and food systems at the local and national level both here in the USA and in China. Since his appointment to the planning faculty at Cornell he has been developing a methodology for identifying and protecting scenic resources in the Hudson Valley, and investigating the issue of superblocks in China, and the future of the superblock as the basic framework of urban planning in Chinese cities. In response to the growing emphasis on promoting small city and rural development in China, in October 2018 he spoke on the topic of small town and rural approaches to water resource protection in Upstate New York as part of the International Urban Infrastructure Management Conference in Hangzhou.</p>