Mobile-home residents may get help



People who live in SLO County’s 40 mobile-home parks will be entitled to some assistance if their park is closed or converted to another use, the county Planning Commission has decided.

Commission members voted unanimously on May 25 to pass their recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for adoption as a county ordinance.

The new law would require mobile-home park owners to provide financial compensation and relocation help to residents who are displaced. A “relocation counselor” would be provided to help residents find and move to a new place to live.

If there’s no comparable mobile-home park where the mobile home could be moved, the park owner must buy the unit at fair market value. For people who rent rather than own their mobile homes, the park owner would have to pay their moving costs and security deposit, and provide a rent subsidy for a year.

Planning commissioners also looked at the possibility of mobile-home parks converting to condominium-style ownership of spaces by residents.

“Condo conversion to a resident-ownership park is a real controversial issue at the state level. This issue has strong opinions on all sides,” County Planner Ted Bench explained after the meeting.

The owner of Rancho Colina mobile-home park in Morro Bay, Steve MacElvaine, has already applied to convert his park to resident ownership of each space, Bench said. Under state law, MacElvaine is required to submit a “survey of support” showing that existing residents approve of the conversion.

Many of the 40 mobile-home parks within the unincorporated area of the county—with a total of more than 2,650 spaces—are located in desirable areas, and could be under threat, according to county officials.

Commissioners stopped short of requiring park owners countywide to provide affordable replacement housing on a one-to-one basis. The California Coastal Act requires such one-to-one replacement within the coastal zone.

The San Luis Obispo City Council is also considering adopting an ordinance to protect mobile-home park residents within the city whose parks may be closed or converted to another use.

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