OCEANSIDE — The Planning Commission unanimously denied a property split for Cavalier Mobile Estates on May 24. The proposed split would allow mobile home residents to buy their lots and free the park owner from following city rent control ordinances that ensure renters’ rates remain reasonable.
The decision to deny the split was made to protect mobile home residents.
“Right now it is too much of a loose cannon,” Planning Commissioner Bob Neal said. “Too many things were not done to help the people who are living there. I don’t feel good about the deal.”
Twenty-one speakers opposed the split. Many of the park residents are on fixed incomes and cannot afford to buy their homes, yet do not qualify for low-income rent protection. The decision to deny the split ensures that city rent control is in place for all residents.
“Tenants are not in a position to protect themselves,” Commissioner Stan Betheaud said. “There’s something deviant on the part of the applicant.”
The decision also helps homeowners in the park. A property split triggers federal regulations that require homeowners to get a FEMA certificate and ample flood insurance. Since the park is built on a floodway the rates for flood insurance would be too high for most homeowners to afford.
“Flood insurance is very expensive, I will not qualify,” homeowner Christi Gray said. “If he wins I lose my home.”
Mark Alpert, the attorney representing the property owner, said the owner will take the matter to the Supreme Court if City Council upholds the denial.
La Salina Mobile Village resident Jimmy Knott said the Supreme Court has previously ruled that mobile home parks cannot be sub-divided to avoid local rent control ordinances. Knott added attorney Alpert has a reputation of going park-to-park pitting owners against tenants.
Alpert insists a property split is the right of the owner and not the decision of residents or the Planning Commission. “It’s not a discretionary decision,” Alpert said. He added that if the split is approved rent control will be in effect for low-income residents and renters who do not choose to buy will have their rents increased to fair market value over four years. “You can’t require any more than that,” Alpert said.