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Mobile home park conversion granted

ENCINITAS — The final parcel map for the Sands mobile home park conversion was approved by the Planning Commission May 7, despite protests from several residents.
The city has been interested in the status of mobile home parks as they represent affordable housing. During a public workshop in April 2008 on ways to preserve the affordability of mobile home parks, some residents asked City Council to become more involved.
“There are two things that could take care of the Encinitas mobile home residents,” Chris Carbonel, a resident of the Sands said during the workshop. “The city could pass an ordinance that says you have to have 51 percent of the residents agree to conversion. Ventura County just passed an ordinance to that effect, or you can have rent control.”
The Sands ownership opted for a conversion into subdivided lots in 2007. The subdivision would convert the park’s 56 individual spaces of land at 1624 N. Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia into resident-owned plots.
Built in 1947, the park is located just two blocks away from the beach. Currently, residents own their homes but not the land beneath them. Lots at the park range in size from 700 to 750 square feet.
The Sands Residence Association, Inc. was formed by residents in an effort to negotiate with park owner Patrick O’Malley, who purchased the property in 2005. An initial offer was made by O’Malley to sell the lots for $325,000 — a price resident Ken Stendel called “absurd.”
Current residents complained to the commission that space rent has nearly doubled since O’Malley purchased the park almost five years ago. Stendel, a part-time resident, said that he is now paying $1,150 per month in rent for the land underneath his manufactured home. “And for what?” he asked.
He said that the space rent is out of line with other parks in the city.
Carbonel told the commission that ongoing infrastructure problems have gone unnoticed. He showed the commissioners “unpotable water” taken from his kitchen sink.
John Rodrigue, an attorney for the owner, said all of the requirements for the final parcel map had been satisfied. He noted that residents who opt not to purchase the land underneath their mobile home will have the option to rent. “Those who decide to continue renting will have the benefit of rent control that they don’t have right now,” he said.
The state’s Department of Real Estate will have the final approval of the conversion process within the next several months.

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