'There is a place in Destin for mobile home housing': Local property owner gives his perspective

Savannah Vasquez
Sibert Oaks is a new mobile home community in Destin that was completed this year.

Seven brand new mobile homes sit on the one-acre property of Sibert Oaks at 315 Sibert Avenue. A wide grassy right-of-way leads to a clean-cut gravel road where each of the seven lots include a personal yard, patio, and two parking spaces. The area looks quite utopian and inviting, however recent city council discussions regarding mobile home regulations could impact the future of mobile home communities like Sibert Oaks in Destin.

Mike Shoults, owner of Southern Management Group, who owns Sibert Oaks, shared his concern on the proposed changes for both existing mobile homes and future mobile home communities.

“I feel there is a place in Destin for mobile home housing,” said Shoults. “However the owners of the existing mobile home parks in West Destin do not accept the responsibility of upkeep of the homes, landscaping and general condition of the property. This in turn lends itself to a negative perception of the people residing in the homes. With a well-planned and maintained property, mobile homes can be a viable option.”

Shoults said that the bad reputation mobile homes often receive is largely due to the fact that the property the homes are placed on is ill-maintained; a problem he says is also true for several brick and mortar homes within the city.

“In addition to many mobile home parks, there are numerous permanent homes in Destin that are in dire need of attention regarding grounds and building maintenance as well as excessive vehicles, camper and boat trailers parked in right of way,” he said.

Recently, Councilwoman Sandy Trammell brought the question to the city of whether mobile homes should eventually be done away with when they need to be replaced. The current ordinance allows for mobile homes to be repaired or replaced if done within a six month window. This is exactly what Shoults was able to do with his property.

In fact, Shoults told The Log that the decision to build a new mobile home community in Destin, sprang from this clause coupled with a plan to best utilize the one-acre property.

“Before my company purchased the property at 315 Sibert Ave, we determined the highest and best use for this property was to put mobile homes back,” Shoults said. “This was due to the current zoning and density regulations being too restrictive to have a marketable product other than mobile homes. Current density would only have allowed two single family permanent residences to be built on this one acre property.”

Shoults added that according to city ordinances, the option to create a mobile home community was grandfathered in only because the property had mobile homes on it previously.

“We would not have even considered purchasing this property had mobile homes not been grandfathered in as an allowable use,” said Shoults. “Zoning and density, as well as code enforcement, are legitimate issues that need to be addressed before any redevelopment with some of these properties that currently have mobile homes on them will happen.”