With the future of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park up in the air, Palo Alto has selected a hearing officer to evaluate a recent report on the impact of relocating the park's residents.
The city has retained attorney Craig Labadie to oversee the upcoming hearing on a Relocation Impact Report, which the Jisser family submitted to the city on May 2. The family, which owns Buena Vista, informed the city in September that it plans to close the park at 3980 El Camino Real. Under the Jissers' agreement with developer Prometheus, the mobile-home park would be replaced by a housing development with up to 180 high-end apartments.
Palo Alto has 30 days from the submittal of the report to determine whether the application and the report are complete. After that, there will be a hearing on the report where the hearing officer will determine whether the mitigations proposed by the property owners are sufficient to compensate displaced residents.
The proposal to close Buena Vista, the city's only mobile-home park, has galvanized affordable-housing and school advocates in Barron Park, some of whom attended Monday's meeting of the City Council and urged council members to do everything in their power to take care of Buena Vista residents, many of whom expressed concerns in recent months about the prospect of losing their homes and having their children removed from the Palo Alto school system.
"Each of these incremental steps brings residents closer to the precipice of losing everything -- that's not rhetorical, it's quite literal," Winter Dellenbach, an attorney from Barron Park who has helped form a Friends group in support of the mobile-home residents.
The report states that most residents would receive a lump sum for purchase of their mobile homes, with the average value estimated at $18,816. The property owner has offered to pay a minimum of $20,000 for the 59 percent of the homes that are worth less than that. At the high end of the scale is a $45,000 home, for which the homeowner would receive $56,000, according to the report.
In recent weeks, the developer has been discussing a plan that would include about 65 apartments for low-income residents as part of the new development. The apartments would be built by a partnership between Prometheus and the Palo Alto Housing Corporation, a nonprofit that manages affordable-housing complexes throughout the city.