Firewagons and Bureaucrats - A Story of Persistence

August 31, 2021

In addition to beautiful, affordable manufactured and mobile homes for sale, Hames Homes is dedicated to creating livable neighborhoods. This success story has been told before, but it's worth repeating.

In the early 1990s the Hames family built a 460-site manufactured housing community, Summit View, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  The city building code at the time required a ten foot separation between a home and an adjacent structure.  In the mobile home business, this meant a shed or garage could be no closer than 10 feet to the home.  This was also an issue for site-built developers, but was especially troublesome for mobile home parks, where space is at a premium.

Curt Hames, founder and president of Hames Mobile Homes, and engineer George Kanz from Shive Hattery asked WHY the arbitrary number of 10 feet between structures?  The other developers shrugged their shoulders saying, “It’s always been this way.” From the Planning and Zoning Committee, the response was less subtle, “That’s our rule. You have to live with it.” Finally someone from the City remembered that the 10 foot rule was for fire protection.

Fire protection?  Really?  Curt and George then spoke with the Cedar Rapids Fire Chief Havlik who was unaware of the 10 foot separation rule.   Upon researching the issue, George found that building code had been in place since 1910 so that the horse-drawn fire wagons could get between buildings in case of fire! Before hydrants, most homes had wells.  The horses and water wagons needed to reach water accessible behind the homes to fight the fire.

The city council was so embarrassed; they changed the code without a fuss. Builders were happy.  Homeowners don’t need to walk as far in bad weather from garage to house. 

This persistence is why Hames Homes has been in business since 1969.  With a large selection of mobile and manufactured homes for sale, our staff is tenacious in finding you the right home and financing that meets your needs.  Contact us or call us at (319) 377-4863 today!

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