Antioch Council approves seniors-only mobile home park urgency ordinance

Antioch resident Tom Lamothe speaks to the council during public comments, before a packed audience on Tuesday, August 8, 2017.

Lasts 45 days, two-year moratorium on Sept. 12 agenda

By Allen Payton

A standing room only crowd attended the Antioch Council meeting, Tuesday night August 8, over concerns about two main issues: an urgency ordinance preventing the conversion of seniors-only mobile home parks to all-ages housing, and the hiring of a new Animal Services manager.

Seniors-Only Mobile Home Park Urgency Ordinance

Interim City Attorney Derek Cole provided the staff report on the item.

“This is not a permanent ordinance. It’s more of a stop-gap. It only lasts for up to two years. Before that expires, we will have a permanent regulation or decide to…not have regulations.”

Because it is an urgency ordinance, the moratorium required a four-fifths vote.

It only takes affect for 45 days. Then the council has to extend it for the remainder of two years, Cole explained.

“The idea is that there may be some changes in availability of senior housing in this city, through mobile home parks, and that could have an affect on seniors, as to their quality of life,” he stated. “The impracticalities if a lease expires and someone has to move their mobile home. Some might not survive the move…without sustaining considerable damage.”

“The cost for moving these homes is prohibitive.,” Cole added.

“Anyone who is currently in a seniors-only mobile home park defined as 80% or more of occupied units of residents who are 55 years or older, it will not be able to convert to an all-ages facility,” he said, explaining the ordinance. “We can continue that up to two years. You start with an urgency ordinance then later extend it.”

Mobile home park resident, Al Ives was the first speaker in favor of the ordinance, and was granted 10 minutes as the main proponent during the public hearing.

“I’m a 23-year member resident of the Vista Diablo Mobile Home Park and also a member of the home owners board,” he stated. “It’s the law of the land as far as I’m concerned,” referring to keeping the parks seniors-only. He referred to “economic eviction.”

“Landlords keep raising rents until tenants can’t afford it,” Ives explained. “We’re a captive audience so to speak. There’s really no place to move and the expense, sheesh.”

He suggested rent control be considered separately, after the ordinance passed.

“The last mobile home park built in Contra Costa County was in 1985…in Antioch,” he stated. “Please don’t be scared of rent control. California has more than 220,000 mobile home spaces, more than 131,000 of those spaces are covered by rent control ordinances. Those include 11 parks in Concord and others in the county.”

A Vista Diablo park resident Lola Park shared her concerns and experience dealing with the owners.

“I’m a Realtor, as you know. I wear many hats,” she stated. “The park declined two applicants (for one of the mobile homes). The criteria for approval has changed. Why now?”

“I have been president of the homeowners’ association for 17 years,” Buck shared. “We feel this is in retaliation for us coming to you for help.”

Another resident, Gil Davis said that some families with children under age 18 have moved into the park.

“I believe the owners are trying to get in as many families with children so that when the moratorium ends, it will be easier to convert to an all-ages park,” he said.

Davis spoke of discrepancies in space rents of “$900, $1,100, $1,200” and the amount he’s paying of $1,300 a month.

“And that doesn’t include utilities,” he stated. “Some also are paying mortgages,” on their mobile homes.

“This always has been and should continue to be a senior housing community,” Davis concluded.

No one spoke against the item and the matter returned to the council for discussion.

Mayor Pro Tem Thorpe made the motion to adopt the ordinance and seconded by Councilwoman Monica Wilson.

“I’m in support of the motion and second,” said Councilman Tony Tiscareno. “I want to congratulate the group out here for your persistence. I’m very disappointed the owners and managers weren’t here. They’re not taking this as seriously. You are taking it seriously. This is your passion and this is your community. This is your home.”

He recommended that the staff considered the rest of the ordinance at the first meeting in September.

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock shared of her own experience in visiting the park and what she saw.

“I was out there, today looking at the park,” she said. “I was appalled at how the park managers are taking care of the park. There’s a lot of liabilities waiting to happen. The owners of this park need to be held accountable. It’s appalling. Shame on them.”

Mayor Sean Wright said, “we have a lot of sympathy and compassion for you and I thank you for coming.”

The council then voted 5-0 to approve the 45-day moratorium to a loud round of applause from the public.

“It is a 45-day moratorium and we will have it on the first council meeting in September, so we will see you then,” Wright added.

Click here, to read about the council’s approval of hiring a new Animal Services Manager.

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Antioch City Council meeting 8-8-17


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