By Kathleen Wilson | Source |

A proposal that could be passed Tuesday would establish special zoning to prevent the conversion of mobile home parks in unincorporated Ventura County into higher-priced housing.

The proposal goes beyond the current rules that require permits to close parks, evidence that the closures won’t cause substantial harm and measures to soften the effect on displaced residents. It essentially bans any other type of housing on property occupied by the 25 parks because the new zone would not allow it.

Mobile home resident Liz Cole, who brought the idea to a county rent control board five years ago, is urging the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to enact the additional protection for the 3,500 residents of the parks. She sees it as a way to head off the potential conversion of parks into other uses — such as apartments and condominiums — as property values rise in the high-cost county.

“It’s literally an insurance policy,” said the 73-year-old Ojai Valley retiree who advocates for mobile home residents’ interests.

Bill Haff and Liz Cole of Golden Oaks MHP

[ED. NOTE: Liz Cole is an officer of GSMOL Chapter #30 at Golden Oaks. Bill Haff, shown in the picture above talking to Liz, was also a GSMOL officer when he lived in another park in Ojai.]

A county report shows five other California areas have enacted the zones, namely the cities of Riverside, Newport Beach and Hermosa Beach plus Santa Cruz and Trinity counties. But it does not appear that the restrictions have yet taken hold in Ventura County.

Critics in the mobile home industry argue they are unneeded in the county’s unincorporated area because no pending proposals for conversion have been identified.

“It’s essentially a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Jarryd Gonzales, a spokesman for the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association, which represents park owners and operators in California.

Tricia Maier, long-range planning manager for the county, said she was unaware of any conversions other than a small one in the Oak View area in 2005. The primary intent of the measure is not to address any current proposal, but rather to preserve mobile home parks as affordable housing into the future, she said.

Maier said she understands that conversions become more likely as land and housing costs increase, pointing to examples in the Bay Area and Orange County. It’s reasonable to assume the same thing could happen in Ventura County, given the rising cost of housing and land, she said.

Maier said she knew of no cities in Ventura County that have adopted such a zone. The proposal headed for the Board of Supervisors Tuesday can only affect the unincorporated area because that is where the board has jurisdiction over land use. City councils regulate land use in the 10 cities.

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