Erosion forces residents out of their mobile homes

March 31, 2011 7:27:54 PM PDT
Even with the sun out, there are major erosion problems at the Sahara Mobile Village in Mountain View. Three mobile homes are red tagged after the bank of Stevens Creek gave way and took major portions of backyard with it, undermining the stability of the mobile home units.

Bob Burnham has lived in his mobile home for eight years.

"I heard a crack, looked out. This fence was gone. Hedge fell straight down in there," he said.

Bob and another resident are staying in a motel for now. The family in the third red tagged home has been moved to another mobile home in the park.

There is now a debate over when and how the erosion can be repaired. A spokesperson for the Santa Clara Valley Water District says the district empathizes with the homeowners but they cannot use public funds for the improvement of private property. Maria Ahmad, the general manager of Sahara Mobile Village, says the district must take some responsibility for the damage. She wants the district to share the cost of the estimated $2 million it will take to shore up the bank with a retaining wall.

"The water is still the water district's responsibility, they have to fess up at this point that that's what's causing the erosion on our land," Ahmad said.

Regardless of the debate over who pays, it does not appear any work can be done until after June when weather conditions would allow for work to start.

Ahmad says she will not charge Burnham or the second mobile home owner rent while they are out of their homes but Burnham is not sure what he is going to do long term.

"So they put us up in a motel here, The Wild Wind. Nice place but I don't want to live there forever," Burnham said.


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