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AGLO 1975 No. 82 - September 25, 1975
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

CITIES AND TOWNS ‑- ZONING ‑- MOTOR VEHICLES ‑- MOBILE HOMES ‑- MUNICIPAL ZONING OF MOBILE HOME SITES

RCW 43.22.410 does not restrict the ability of a first class city, in exercising its constitutional and statutory powers with respect to zoning, to prohibit the placement of mobile homes within certain designated areas of the city.

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                                                              September 25, 1975

Honorable Gordon L. Walgren
State Senator, 23rd District
245 Fourth Street Building
Bremerton, Washington 98310                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1975 No. 82

Dear Senator Walgren:

            By recent letter you have requested our opinion on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Does RCW 43.22.410 restrict the ability of a first class city, in exercising its constitutional and statutory powers with respect to zoning, to prohibit the placement of mobile homes within certain designated areas of the city?

            We answer this question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            For a general discussion of the legal basis for municipal zoning in our state, see AGLO 1973 No. 103 [[ to Earl F. Angevine, Prosecuting Attorney, Skagit County on November 7, 1973 an Informal Opinion, AIR-73603]], copy enclosed.  As indicated therein, the powers of a city or county (of any class) with respect to this subject derive both from Article XI, § 11 of our state constitution1/ and from various statutes codified in chapter 35.63 RCW with respect to incorporated cities and towns, and chapter 36.70 RCW with respect to counties.

            Most certainly, a county or city in the exercise of this power may, in the absence of a state statute to the contrary, restrict mobile homes or any other kinds or classes of structures to particular areas of the municipality ‑ assuming, of course, that it has legally valid reasons for so doing.  Again, you will find in AGLO 1973  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] No. 103, supra, a detailed discussion of the standards to be met by a constitutionally valid zoning ordinance.

            The issue raised by your present request, however, is whether RCW 43.22.410 is a "statute to the contrary" insofar as mobile homes are concerned.  In our opinion it is not.

            In order to understand the significance of this provision one must first read a companion statute, RCW 43.22.340, which provides as follows:

            "The director of labor and industries shall prescribe and enforce rules and regulations governing safety of body and frame design, and the installation of plumbing, heating, and electrical equipment in mobile homes, commercial coaches and/or recreational vehicles:  Provided, That the director shall not prescribe or enforce rules and regulations governing the body and frame design of recreational vehicles until after the American National Standards Institute shall have published standards and specifications upon this subject.  Such rules and regulations shall be reasonably consistent with recognized and accepted principles of safety for body and frame design and plumbing, heating, and electrical installations, in order to protect the health and safety of the people of this state from dangers inherent in the use of substandard and unsafe body and frame design, construction, plumbing, heating, electrical, and other equipment and shall correlate with and, so far as practicable, conform to the then current standards and specifications of the American National Standards Institute standards A119.1 for mobile homes and commercial coaches and A119.2 for recreational vehicles.  It shall be unlawful for any person to lease, sell or offer for sale, within this state, any mobile homes, commercial coaches and/or recreational vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1968, containing plumbing, heating, electrical, or other equipment, and after July 1, 1970 body and frame design or construction unless such equipment meets the requirements of the rules and regulations provided for herein."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]   RCW 43.22.410, the statute which you have cited, then states that:

            "Any mobile home, commercial coach and/or recreational vehicle that meets the requirements prescribed under RCW 43.22.340 shall not be required to comply with any ordinances of a city or county prescribing requirements for body and frame design, construction or plumbing, heating and electrical equipment installed in mobile homes, commercial coaches and/or recreational vehicles."

            The reason for our negative answer to your question is that this last quoted statute, by its own express terms, only preempts those mobile homes which meet the requirements prescribed under RCW 43.22.340, supra, from those county or city ordinances

            ". . . prescribing requirements for body and frame design, construction or plumbing, heating and electrical equipment . . ."

            Thus, RCW 43.22.410 has nothing whatsoever to do with the regulation by a county or city of where, within the boundaries of such municipality, mobile homes may or may not be situated.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General

PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/"Any county, city, town or township may make and enforce within its limits all such local police, sanitary and other regulations as are not in conflict with general laws."

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