County error may cost couple’s home

By Pearce Adams

A Hall county couple is hoping county commissioners show compassion by overlooking a simple mistake that could cost them their home.

County officials claimed Linda and Arthur Pratt violated zoning rules by obtaining a building permit for a modular home in a residential area. Modular homes are prohibited in areas zoned R-1, or residential. The Pratts said the error belongs to the county.

The fate of the couple’s 2,190-square-foot home in East Hall hinges on a favorable decision.

“They bought the home,” Commissioner Stephen Black said at Monday’s work session. “We messed up. It’s not their fault we did this.”

The commissioner’s decision at a 5 p.m. meeting Thursday at the Georgia Mountains Center will decide whether the Pratt’s can complete their home on 3.6 acres on Cobb Griffin Drive near Gillsville Highway in East Hall.

Zoning and building officials reportedly erred last May when they allowed the Pratt’s builder to obtain a permit for the home in redential zoning. Modular homes are allowed in land zoned agriculture and residential.

Senior planner Matt Tate old commissioners Monday the error was a “simple oversight.”

The oversight led the Pratts to proceed, thing everything was OK.

They said they liked the modular concept in home construction that was on display last spring at a home show in the Georgia Mountains Center.

“We saw (the house), got interested and realized we could afford more house for the same or less dollars,” she said.

They obtain a six-month construction loan, ordering the home and began building.

Hall County officials soon discovered the building permit was a mistake.

The property’s original zoning limited development to site-built homes. The modular home was fabricated at another location and transported in two segments, which were assembled at the home site.

A planning department report said the home “exceeds county building standards.”

But officials issued a stop-work order in December.

Had they known the modular home was not permitted, she said they would have built an 1,850-square-foot home instead.

Their builder, Building Systems Network, obtained the necessary county approvals, she said.

“This was our fit home we attempted to build,” Linda Pratt said.
We were so excited about the house. We did not cover all of our bases. We’ve learned a lot.”

 
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