WILLIAMSTOWN -- Seventy-one percent of the 226 homes at The Spruces Mobile Home Park have been condemned in the wake of flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
Health Inspector Jeffrey C. Kennedy said Thursday afternoon health inspections of the retirement community's housing units have been completed with the exception of seven homes that passed exterior inspections but await interior inspections.
"There are 58 homes that passed, and 161 that didn't," Kennedy said.
Residents whose homes didn't pass can still go in and out to get their belongings, but they can't live there until they make the necessary repairs and the town signs off on them, he said.
While many of the homes in The Spruces were built in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, they won't necessarily be exempt from meeting the current building code if owners choose to repair them. They may also have to be flood-proofed, according to local officials.
Building Commissioner Michael J. Card said Wednesday there are two possible thresholds that trigger new code requirements for a person making repairs to their home.
The first would be if more than 50 percent of the structural system is damaged, and the second would be if the cost of the repairs exceeded 50 percent of the market value of the building before the flood, he said.
Residents whose homes don't meet those requirements can make repairs in-kind, which means they're using the same standards as what was there, he said.
Card said the fact that The Spruces is in a 100-year floodplain compounds the issue for homeowners who meet the building-code triggers.
"If they're under the new building code, flood-proofing would be required," he said. "That would most likely mean elevating the mobile home so that the lowest part of it would be above the flood elevation."
What Inspection Services strongly recommends to homeowners is they have a contractor with a construction supervisor license look at their homes, come up with a list of what is damaged and provide an estimate of the cost, he said.
"Take a look at what you have, and if it looks like you're at a level of flood-proofing, then speak with us because if it gets to that level, engineering will need to be done," he said.
Card said The Spruces started in 1948, and floodplain regulations didn't begin until 1969.
"Even after that, mobile homes still went in there until 1977, which was when the regulations caught up with the park," he said. "The vast majority of the park is without the benefit of flood-proof construction."