Capitola mobile home residents may be forced out

April 29, 2011 6:55:43 PM PDT
In Capitola, the city is moving toward shutting down a mobile home park that was swamped with flood waters during last month's storms. The Pacific Cove Mobile Home Park looked like a river at the height of the flooding in March.

The City Council voted to start the paperwork process that would breakvdown how a relocation effort would work and who would get paid how much, if indeed, they do decide to close the park.

Capitola has owned the home park property for about 30 years. Sidney Jackson has been residing there for even longer than that -- 40 years.

"I thought I had seniority over everybody, but I was wrong, there were two ahead of me," said Jackson.

Now, Sidney and his neighbors face the prospect of moving.

When a drainage pipe broke on March 24 it sent a torrent of water through the Pacific Cove property and into Downtown Capitola. The city says it would cost $1.9 million to repair all the damage, while relocating the 26 full-time residents would cost roughly $1.4 million.

"Even if the city made the investment to bring the park back up to code, the park would remain in the flood plain and I think the council was concerned about the long term safety of the situation and about the long term vision of this community," said city manager Jamie Goldstein.

Many park residents say the city had neglected the property for years and the flood is simply a good excuse to close the park.

"It's their property, so they can do what they want and it looks like they're doing to do what they want," said Pacific Cove resident Bob Allen.

Capitola city leaders say any final decision is still six months away. The flood damage is so extensive, many homes are still off limits.

Jackson just got back into his place last week. Ann Schroedel just got clearance Friday to return home.

"Until the city makes some suggestions for alternative housing, I think I need to wait and see. But in the meantime, I'm just trying to settle down and get back to normal routine," said Schroedel.

If and when the official decision comes to close the park, Capitola will have another problem -- 89-year-old Jackson.

"I told them that's the only way you're going to get me out. You're going to have to pick me up and throw me out on Capitola Avenue and I don't think the law will allow that," said Jackson.

The city says if indeed it does close the park, at that time, it would be about six months. So we're looking at a full year before people have to move out and that people like Jackson, who have been here for a long time, who are full-time residents, would be compensated more than someone who has a mobile home here for vacation use.


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