Council approves ordinance to protect mobile home park residents

FARAH FARJOOD / AGGIE

Ordinance prevents relocation, closure of mobile home parks  

On Oct. 17, the Davis City Council approved an ordinance that protects residents of mobile home communities from being spontaneously relocated in a unanimous vote. The council also recommended providing additional protections for those living in mobile home parks.

There are currently four mobile home parks in Davis: Davis Mobile Estates, Rancho Yolo Mobile Home Park, Davis Creek Mobile Home Park and Slatter’s Court. Although most of the parks owners haven’t made any indication that they want to repurpose their parks, the ordinance will now protect residents from something like that happening.

Protecting mobile home communities is a fairly new idea in many cities across California, but San Jose and San Francisco recently introduced protections. In Davis, mobile home parks are one of the only options for non-government related low-income housing.

According to Ginger Hashimoto, a city administrative analyst, the ordinance proposed taking advantage of an in-state law that allows local governments to create more specific laws regarding the relocation or closure of a mobile home park. The purpose of this ordinance in particular — titled “Mobile Home Park Relocation Impact” — is to mitigate the effects of mobile home park relocation or closure to the residents.

“The exact purpose of this ordinance, essentially, is to ensure that park owners reasonably mitigate the adverse impacts of relocation on displaced residents,” Hashimoto said. “The proposed ordinance wishes to achieve this by establishing a set of local procedures and standards that must be addressed and analyzed in something called the relocation impact report.”

The relocation impact report will be written by a neutral consultant selected by the city. It will not supersede any pre-existing land use or zoning approving processes, however. Additionally, the council and city cannot use the ordinance as a tool to prohibit closure of the park.

Of the four mobile home parks in Davis, Rancho Yolo is the only park that has an existing protection, which means that the park is a legal lot and that a review process has to take place before any changes can be made. Other mobile home parks may have something similar, but the proposed ordinance will provide an additional layer of protection.

“Really the only other permitted uses for the Rancho Yolo property, as Mike already indicated, is a one single family dwelling or a duplex, or agricultural use,” said Kelly Stachowicz, the assistant city manager. “So anything else would require approval for the council.”

Along with the residential impact report, any proposed change to a mobile home park will require a public hearing before the city’s planning commision, social services commision and city council. The owners will also be required to pay relocation costs for the residents of the parks.

Staff began with the intention of bringing the idea to City Council and having a public hearing on a later date. However, the council approved the proposal of the mobile home park relocation ordinance, and made a suggestion to have a proposed stage II, which will include additional protections for residents.

According to Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, some other securities would include rent control for park residents and “stay in business” incentives for park owners. Right now, according to Frerichs, the goal is to get the basics in place.

“It’s been talked about in the public comments night,” Frerichs said. “There’s a variety of pieces to the housing puzzle. One is some additional new housing where it’s appropriate. But also, one of the other pieces is to preserve the existing housing stocks. That is one of the things that is exceptionally important. We have these four mobile home parks — in these, we have 400 units of extremely affordable housing, and there’s currently no protections in place at all in terms of if someone comes in and tried to do a conversion.”

Councilmember Will Arnold agreed with Frerichs. Many of the residents of the housing parks are senior citizens, and the affordability of the mobile home parks, according to Arnold, needs to be more protected.

“I support the passage of this ordinance because it’s critically important that we preserve the security and peace of mind of our senior citizens that live in this affordable housing in our community,” Arnold said. “Creating new affordable housing is expensive and hard to sight and is creating a lot of work. And it’s important to protect what we have, and this ordinance doesn’t go all the way in doing that, but I do think it’s a step forward in that process.”

 

Written by: Hannan Waliullah – city@theaggie.org

 

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