#b#Another Look At Modular Homes#/b#

Thank you for your insightful article on modular home design and construction in the May 21 issue. While it discussed some of the benefits of modular construction, it was incorrect in stating that savings of 20 to 40 percent can be realized. Our firm, RBA Homes which is based in Red Bank, has built over 200 modular homes in central New Jersey since 1987 and currently have 20-plus homes under contract. We have found that the construction savings are about 5 percent over site built homes.

The real benefit to modular construction is that it is a much simpler way to build a structurally superior home in a controlled environment with less waste in about four months from when the factory order is placed. The home owner deals with one responsible party through the entire design and construction process, and is provided with a realistic construction budget within weeks of the initial meeting.

We applaud the effort of Marina Rubina to bring creativity to the design of modular construction which has progressed significantly to the point where nearly every home we build is a custom design that extensively involves the owner in the design of their home.

Historically, modular housing was promoted by the federal agency HUD as a source of inexpensive, box-like structures with little diversity or individual design input that could be constructed for 20 percent less cost than site-built homes. This proved to be unpopular and hence the evolution to custom-designed innovative plans that still provide cost effective housing. Please note that modular homes are built to local and national Uniform Construction Code standards and are not “trailers.”

To truly promote the inexpensive affordable housing that HUD wished to encourage will require enlightened municipal zoning revisions that permit HUD-approved trailers, referred to as “manufactured housing,” to be permanently set on inexpensive pier foundations on individually owned fee simple lots. This encourages long term lower interest financing and the upgrade of one’s property.

Individuals who are forced to rent a lot at trailer parks suffer from the cost cutting and profit incentives of land owners who promote overcrowding and unattractive conditions. A recent New York Times article covered this regressive economic and legal structure in detail. Consequently, municipalities avoid inclusionary zoning for manufactured housing that could promote attractive and affordable communities through fee simple ownership. Until zoning is changed to encourage affordable housing, the U.S. will continue to encounter this housing shortage.

Peter Madison

Madison, a Princeton resident, is a former member and chairperson of Princeton Regional Planning Board.

#b#Parkinson Progress#/b#

April was Parkinson’s Awareness Month and the Princeton community displayed its strong support with donations and efforts to raise awareness of this disease. The Parkinson Alliance is grateful to area merchants for two events that raised awareness of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and funds for much-needed research.

For the fifth straight year, McCaffrey’s offered its customers the option of donating to the Parkinson Alliance when they checked out at all four of its stores. More than $4,700 was raised for research.

The following restaurants participated in the fifth annual Princeton Dines Out for Parkinson’s Disease Research: Blue Point Grill, Elements, Eno Terra, Gennaro’s, Mediterra, Mistral, North End Bistro, Pj’s Pancake House, Teresa Caffe, the Peacock Inn, and Witherspoon Grill. During the last week in April, a percentage of the proceeds were donated to the Parkinson Alliance.

Our organization raises funds for promising research that will improve the quality of life for those living with PD and ultimately, help find a cure. The Parkinson Alliance is a resource in our local area for those living with PD. We thank the community for its support.

Carol Walton

CEO, The Parkinson Alliance

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