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June 3, 2009 > Mobile Home Park amendments introduced

Mobile Home Park amendments introduced

By Meenu Gupta

New amendments were recently recommended to protect the rights of mobile home park residents and tenants. Mayor Robert Livengood started the May 19 city council meeting by clearing the misconception that the council was discussing conversion of mobile home parks.

The city's principal housing planner, Felix Reliford, presented the staff report to dispel that notion. The existing mobile home park ordinance was first adopted by Milpitas in 1988.

Clarifying the term "introduced," Reliford explained that "By state law, when governments amend their zoning ordinances, they have to 'introduce the ordinance' at the first meeting, then at the second meeting it is adopted and 30 days after adoption, it becomes law."

Reliford said that "The ordinance has nothing to do with the change of use, the discontinue of use or a development application the city has received in regards to the mobile home park... Our ordinance has not been amended for over twenty years and by state law we are required to amend the ordinance."

The confusion comes in the title of the ordinance "Conversion of Mobile Home Park to other uses." That is just the title of the ordinance, not the action before the council.

To the city council Reliford said "We are strictly asking you to amend the ordinance, to comply with State law, and not only amend the new ordinance but we also feel in the process of many new ordinances it trengthens the city's hand in protecting the rights of the mobile home park residents and tenants."

The Main Street Mobile Home and RV Park at 1504 South Main Street in Milpitas was closed in 2007 triggering the need to amend the mobile home park ordinance. City officials helped the residents in relocating as the site was vacated to develop a condominium complex that includes five-story buildings and an underground parking lot.

Community outreach meetings conducted by the city at three mobile home parks - Pioneer, Mobilodge of Milpitas and Friendly Village of Milpitas led to the new ordinance which was discussed at the city council's meeting on May 19.

"Residents at the community outreach meetings were concerned about fair compensation, potential relocation, receiving fair value assessment, right for future development if the park was changed and overall compensation package" said Reliford.

After the series of the community outreach meetings staff provided a copy of the amendments and changes comparing the proposed ordinance to the existing ordinance to the mobile home park residents.

"I personally went out and handed out 600 different applications to mobile home park managers, I've also asked the managers to post them on the board all this action was taken prior to the planning commission meeting in April for the residents will have the information and the analysis that we have done in regards to what we will be recommending to you" said Reliford.

"The only follow-up by city staff is to prepare the City Council's staff report for second meeting for adoption. Once the amendments becomes law, it goes into the City Municipal Code. The Zoning Ordinance is just a chapter/section of the entire Municipal Code which are the laws which governs the City" said Reliford.

The Mobile Home Park Conversion Ordinance proposed amendments include new mobile home park conversion permit process, additional conversion impact report requirements and increase "In-Place Value" from 95% to 100%. Distance to relocate is recommended to increase from 20 to 50 miles.

Additional information regarding status of mobile home to be relocated is added, which protects residents in the long run. An amendment to replace the current $1,500 housing allowance with payment for reasonable costs for relocation was added.

Items to be considered as reasonable costs for relocation include two year rent subsidy in rent differential for very-low and low income households, meals, lodging, gas while mobile home is being relocated, moving all personal property, dismantling, packing, moving, reassembling, rebuilding, unpacking, skirting.

Madeline Clogy and Cory Nichols expressed their concern about the behavior of their park owner who had aborted plans to build amenities park residents paid to use such as a pool and jacuzzi and asked the council to provide them with these amenities.

"This ordinance is absolutely necessary to protect us" said Clogy. "They have done everything possible to take away amenities for no apparent reason. In fact, blaming the city for it. Anything that can be done to protect us really needs to be taken into consideration."

"This does strengthen and update and make legally defensible our conversion process" Vice Mayor Pete McHugh said. The proposal was unanimously approved.

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