Mobile Home Park Rules Considered, Continued

Planning Commission Listens to Those Worried Proposed Ordinance Does Too Little or Too Much

What happens when you own a mobile home and lease the land it sits upon, but the owner of the entire property decides to close the park? That’s what the County Planning Commission discussed on Wednesday afternoon, when they were presented a new set of rules designed to protect mobile home park residents by forcing park owners who close to pay for, among other things, relocation expenses.

Though the county had adopted some changes suggested during the original public hearing on November 15, many mobile home owners still weren’t happy, arguing that the new ordinance should further protect the “in-place market value” of their homes in the event they are not able to move.

Some residents, fearing that they may lose 80 percent of their equity should a park sale occur — for instance, a mobile home may be worth only about $40,000, but the value of it in a well-located park could be closer to $300,000 — are already looking to sell their homes, expecting that the ordinance will pass. They’ve pointed to ordinances approved in other jurisdictions as evidence that the county could do more to protect their interests.

On the other hand, mobile home park owners have offered some pretty strong resistance as well, explaining that they’ve been subjected to rent control for years and that making them pay for in-place value would be unfair, not to mention financially impossible. Said one park owner representative on Wednesday, “If you put in-place market value [in the ordinance] … you’ll be saying that a mobile home park will never close in this county.”

Faced with so much information, the commissioners directed staff to answer some lingering questions, do a bit more research, and return with answers before a vote on the matter February 1, 2012.

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