Floating house on Antioch waterfront torn down Wednesday

Photo by Antioch resident who chose to remain anonymous. Published with permission.

“This is Rivertown not shantytown!”; $220K cost to City for removal

By Allen D. Payton

After five years, the floating shanty on the river along Antioch’s waterfront is finally gone as of Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022.

The house on floats was moved from one of the Delta islands and placed there in 2017 by property owner Tom Trost. He wanted to send a message to the city council that his property between E. 6th and A Streets at the entrance to historic, downtown Rivertown, reached the end of the piers under the water. Trost was hoping to pressure them into including that portion of his land in the city’s Downtown Specific Plan, which the council updated in February 2018. (See related article)

Since then, the floating house has become more and more of an eyesore attracting homeless individuals and was even the subject of a painting entered as an item for guests to bid on during the silent auction of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala, one year. (Seriously. That really happened. No joke!)

This writer repeatedly told Trost, “this is Rivertown, not shantytown!” and asked him to remove the eyesore. But Trost, whose family owns a house moving company, said he didn’t have the money.

Then state law changed thanks to the help of former Assemblyman Jim Frazier, according to Antioch Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs. He has been working on the effort for the last six months and said, because of changes in the law the State Lands Commission can now seize derelict vessels. Since the house was on floats it was considered a vessel.

“The commission seized the house and transferred it to the city which is paying $220,000 to the specialized contractor to remove the house,” he said.

“It was sinking,” Ebbs explained further, “and was a potential hazard because of diesel fuel cans on the backside of the house. If the house had sunk that would have created a disaster.”

Plus, “it would have required a more specialized contractor and the cost could have tripled,” he added.“We were able to work it out with Trost who agreed to have it removed,” Ebbs continued.

Asked if the costs will be assessed to Trost’s property, the Community Development Director said, “No. Probably not.”

Regarding Trost’s efforts to ensure his property includes the portion under the water, Ebbs said, “The legality of that property is a complicated issue we need to dive into (no pun intended). It may be included if it’s contiguous. But control of parcels under the water involves many agencies and is on a case-by-case basis as there are a lot of issues. The City doesn’t have an opinion on it at this point.”

“If there’s a grand plan for Tom’s property that included the land under the water we could consider it, then,” he added.

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Shanty on river torn down

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