Antioch Council to pursue zoning for seniors only mobile home park

By John Crowder

At the June 13 meeting of the Antioch City Council, councilmembers vowed to have city staff take immediate steps to provide relief for residents of the Vista Diablo Mobile Estates. The direction to staff was in response to complaints that the seniors living in that community were being taken advantage of by the mobile home park owner.

Listed as a regular agenda item at the evening meeting was the receipt of a report and the opportunity to provide direction to staff regarding creation of a Senior Mobile Home Housing Zoning District.  When the item was reached, Interim City Attorney Derek Cole began the report by discussing the history of federal laws prohibiting discrimination in public housing.  He explained that, while federal law broadly prohibits discrimination, an exception was carved out in the late 1980’s for “housing for older people.”  Following this exception being established, senior communities (age 55 and older) began to be developed.  Eventually, cities began creating mandatory senior only zoning districts.

According to the staff report submitted to the City Council, the purpose of the agenda item was to provide information to members of the City Council surrounding this issue, and determine if the council desired city staff to pursue such an ordinance for at least one mobile home park in Antioch, the Vista Diablo park.

The staff report also provided some history regarding the Vista Diablo Park and the City of Antioch.  According to the report, “In 2007, the City and owner of this mobile home park entered into a settlement agreement…in which, under the threat of litigation, the owner agreed to continue to operate as a senior community (as it had done since 1978) for at least ten more years.  (The ten-year period expires on October 9 of this year).  Subject to further review, we believe that at least this mobile home park could be subject to any overlay district the Council may wish to create.”

Following the presentation, a dozen Antioch residents came forward to voice their support for the enactment of such an ordinance.

Lola Buck, President of Vista Diablo Homeowners Association, led off with her presentation.  She informed the Council that there are 150 homes in the park, that the homes themselves are owned by the residents, and that they pay rent for the land upon which they sit.

“We are here tonight to ask for your help,” Buck said.

She noted that the agreement of 2007 will expire in 2017, and said that in 2007 residents of the park were threatened with the park being turned into a family park and the raising of rents.  Now that the agreement was expiring she said residents feared that management would try to convert it to an all-age park.

“Our rents are the highest in Contra Costa County of mobile home parks,” Buck stated.

She also complained that there is a lack of maintenance by the owners, and increasing rents, which results in decreasing equities of the homes.  She urged the council to vote in favor of establishing a senior-only ordinance to protect the residents of the park.

Following comments by another eleven speakers, including Kip Stevens, who likened the management of the park to “slum lords” who “want to take advantage of the elderly,” and others who discussed rising rents negatively impacting fixed-income Seniors, the Council took up the matter.

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe, moving beyond the requested relief of a seniors-only ordinance, asked the City Attorney about the possibility of rent control.   After being informed that rent control could be considered, Thorpe responded, “I hope so,” to loud applause from those in attendance.  Thorpe concluded his remarks by saying that he would do anything he could to support [the seniors.]

Council Member Tony Tiscareno echoed the sentiments expressed by Thorpe.

“I want to make sure we are protecting the folks out there,” he said. “The previous city council was trying to do the right thing to protect you…I’m here with you as well.”

Council Member Lori Ogorchock expressed her appreciation for those speaking at the meeting.  “I’m very impressed with the speakers tonight,” she said.  Noting her agreement with the comments made by Thorpe, she said that she believed it was proper to institute an urgency ordinance.  “We do have to look at rent control,” she also said, mentioning that she knew of several people in the mobile home park who had to move because of rate increases.

Council Member Monica Wilson echoed the comments by Ogorchock, then said, she was “appalled” by some of what she’d heard.

“I don’t want to do a ten-year moratorium, I want to protect them,” she continued. “I don’t want somebody else to come back ten years from now.”

Wilson also said that the matter required urgency on the part of the city council.

Mayor Sean Wright brought the discussion to a conclusion, saying “I think you’ve heard loud and clear from Council that we would like to move forward with an overlay.”

After further discussion with the city attorney regarding a consideration of rent control as well, Wright stated, “You have the support of the council.”

As the agenda item was informational, the council then voted, unanimously, to receive and file the report.

12 Comments to “Antioch Council to pursue zoning for seniors only mobile home park”

  1. Renee Sparks says:

    I go to a bible study at this mobile home park and I am in strong agreement that it should be kept for seniors. I applaud the city council and mayor and Mr. Thorpe. The homeowners should be protected at All mobile home parks from ourtrageous rents.

  2. Marty Fernandez says:

    My wife and I were at all the council meetings involving this problem back when Mr. Freitas was Mayor. We were never so proud of a city council for doing the right thing for city residents. I am also proud to hear this council will stand with these folks. What these men who were the investors wanted to do to these folks was morally wrong. As much then as now! Marty and Nancy

    • brian says:

      My mom lives Delta Hawaii. It is a senior park, but they have allowed families to move in and buy the mobile home units. They have raised the rent every year to where she now pays over 800 bucks a month for a pad and dirt. They also installed water meters ,where water previously was included in the rent. Security was there, no longer there.SHe is on a fixed income and is being priced out. What can I do about this going on ? If she doesnt pick her weeds they threaten to fine her….criminals have broken into her shed…etc…etc..

  3. Nancy Fernandez says:

    Isn’t Delta Hawaii in Pittsburg? No matter what city it is in you need to go to a city council meeting with your mother and friends and shake some trees. Don’t just sit there, DO something. These folks are a shining example of what you can do. Hard work? yes but worth it.

  4. brian says:

    Nancy , Yes it is in Pittsburg. I was hoping there would be other Hawaii Delta residents who would chime in and get the people to stand up for their rights. I work and take care of my mother and she has a family with kids that reside in the park and she had her shed broken into. Over 800 for a space is allot for rent for a senior park.Thank you for your input

  5. Rjb says:

    Antioch should just give away free homes to anyone that needs one. It’s a basic human right for everyone to have a 5 bedroom home and a Mercedes and free utilities and free food and free alcohol and free diapers and free marijuana.

  6. Nancy Fernandez says:

    OMG RJB I hear that every single day at home!

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