The Capitola Planning Commission voted 2-1 to close the Pacific Cove Mobile Home Park Thursday, rather than repairing the park and its 41 mobile homes after the .
Commissioners Gayle Ortiz and Ed Newman recused themselves due to financial conflicts of interest. Commissioner Ron Graves voted no, but Linda Smith and Mick Routh's approval was enough to pass the proposal. Routh and Smith both included with their yes votes that they did not personally support the closure because it conflicts with a decision from 1984 that guaranteed residents eligibility to live their entire lifetimes at the park.
Many residents addressed issues of insufficient relocation assistance from the city, as well as a lack of affordable housing offerings for them elsewhere in Capitola.
Sue Rennels is being offered $1,200 for her mobile home based on the Kelly Blue Book value of the mobile home alone. According to city documents, she would get $41,000 if the value of its current location is considered. Rennels said both amounts are unfair and will make it impossible for her to find a new place to live in Capitola.
The city is working with Castle Estates—managed by low-income housing corporation Millennium Housing—to secure available spaces for displaced residents.
Graves questioned whether this plan meets state requirements under the Mello Act for the city to provide a certain ratio of affordable housing. Pacific Cove currently has 19 mid- and low-income spaces. Graves said he doesn't believe the offer of spaces in Castle counts as replacing the 19 lost units.
“There are already 83 low-income homes in Castle,” he said. “You would have to add 19 to that 83 to be replacing the affordable housing.”
Attorney John Hannon is not yet representing anyone from Pacific Cove, but agreed with Graves' assessment, in saying that the Relocation Impact Report approved by the commission did not offer fair payments or feasible housing options.
“If we let people move into Castle, that is already low-income housing,” Hannon said. “If you let people move in there, are we at the end of the day going to have a net loss of low-income housing?”
Hannon said it is likely he will end up representing Pacific Cove residents in a case against the city.
Some in attendance insinuated that the city is conveniently closing the park to make room for a .
The Capitola City Council will now once again review the issue of closing the park.