California County Seeks Zoning to Maintain and Promote Manufactured Home Communities

Followers of this blog are most likely aware of our reports detailing numerous closures of long established mobile home and manufactured home parks in several communities across the country, resulting in the eviction of those who own their own manufactured home and rent the space in the park.

Typically the mobile home park owner(s) will sell the community property to a developer for commercial purposes after securing approval from local zoning officials to change the existing land use regulations.

Often these families displaced are lower income citizens that have resided in these communities for decades and have limited relocation options and financial resources available, sometimes resulting in homelessness.

There are a scant few municipalities that have embraced the establishment of zoning regulations that would help maintain these affordable manufactured home communities, aka mobile home parks. One of those jurisdictions that respects and is being protective of these communities and their residents is San Mateo County in Northern California.

San Mateo County recognizes the value of manufactured homes

Pillar Ridge Manufactured Home Community Center

San Mateo County, just south of San Francisco, is one of the most expensive places to live in the country with home prices averaging about $1.2 million. The only affordable housing in this area is manufactured homes sited in manufactured home communities situated on some of the most expensive and desirable real estate on the west coast. San Mateo County is recognizing the importance of maintaining those communities.

San Mateo County planners in a refreshing reversal of the aforementioned norm, are seeking to establish a new Mobile Home Zoning District in unincorporated areas of the county including Moss Beach’s Pillar Ridge Manufactured Home Community, which is now zoned as highway frontage, according to a report by Half Moon Bay Review.

“The county recognizes, as the state does, that these are a unique form of housing that should be recognized and regulated for what it is,” said planning board member Gibson. “ Part of the recognition is that they’re residences and have been located in residential areas for a very long time.”

As the Bay Area faces a housing crunch, the county’s new zoning would help ensure its mobile home parks remain dedicated to housing now and into the future.

“It adds some protection for existing mobile home residents or tenants because it limits the potential for closure or conversion,” said Gibson.

New zoning would eliminate outdated “trailers” and “trailer camp” regulations

Lucy and Ricky have been upgraded

New zoning policies specific to mobile home parks would also replace the current outdated “trailer camp” regulations, established decades ago for what county documents call “semi-permanent housing.”

“Even the (trailer camp) title is offensive … People just have a concept that this is a trailer park and the people who live here are ‘trailer trash’ and, I beg your pardon, we are not,” said Lisa Ketcham, president of the Pillar Ridge Homeowners’ Association and chair of the Midcoast Community Council.

It’s just a “pejorative and I think maybe people don’t realize that” she said. “I don’t live in a trailer. I live in a nice home.”

There will be a public hearing before the Board of Supervisors for the mobile home zoning district proposal on September 12.

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