The owner of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park must go back and further revise his plan for compensating the residents who would be displaced under a plan to convert Buena Vista to a dense apartment complex, Palo Alto's city attorney has ruled.
For the second time in recent months, the city has found that the Jisser family, which owns the park, has not submitted a completed Relocation Impact Report, a mandated document that lays out the Jissers' strategy for compensating Buena Vista's residents. As in his previous finding, Grant Kolling from the Office of the City Attorney had determined that the latest report submitted by Jissers' attorney does not include enough information about compensation and lacks the required responses from residents.
Kolling also wrote in a letter that the city needs more time to collect questionnaires from Buena Vista residents. The failure of Jissers' contractors to obtain all the questionnaires for its first Relocation Impact Report was a major reason for the city's rejection of the document. Since then, the city had offered to obtain these questionnaires itself, a process that Kolling said can be completed in a week or two.
Once the report is deemed complete, it will be forwarded to the hearing officer, Craig Labadie, who will determine whether it comprises sufficient compensation for Buena Vista's residents.
"It is not the City's intention to unnecessarily or unduly delay the City's processing of the application," Kolling wrote in an Oct. 18 letter to Margaret Ecker Nanda, the attorney representing the Jisser family. "The City intends to comply with the requirements of the PAMC and facilitate a process that would enable the hearing officer to render a decision in an expeditious, efficient, fair and impartial manner."
The city is also requesting that the Jissers include two- and three-bedroom units in their calculation for relocation assistance. While Buena Vista has a few two-bedroom units, its only three-bedroom homes are ones in which the third bedroom was installed illegally, according to the letter. Kolling noted that the city is "compelled to conclude that this situation has occurred with the express or tacit approval of the owner."
The Jissers have offered an $11,000 lump payment to each household for relocation. In the new letter, Kolling once again asks the family how they arrived at this figure.
"Today, the City is still unable to understand how the Owner calculates this sum," Kolling wrote.
The proposal to close Palo Alto's sole mobile-home park has prompted an outpouring of support for residents from local housing advocates and from the surrounding Barron Park neighborhood. The newly formed Buena Vista Mobilehome Park Residents Association had offered to buy the park from the residents but the Jissers had declined their $14.5 million offer.