Possible sale threatens retirement community in San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif.

The storyline is about the sale of a piece of property, but the real story is about the human impact of that sale and the precedent it could set for other mobile home parks in San Jose.

Winchester Ranch Mobile Home Park sits on prime valley real estate. Its neighbor is the Winchester Mystery House. Across the street is Santana Row with its luxury apartments and high-end businesses and restaurants. The park is beautifully landscaped and maintained with about 100 attractive manufactured homes. The streets have quaint names like Dry Yard Drive and Prune Way.

For the seniors there, it's an idyllic retirement community. "It's been a place in heaven for us, for a long time. It's an affordable place for seniors," told ABC7 News. Most of the residents there are over 70-years-old-- eight are more than 90-years-old. All own their own homes.

Dave Tripp bought his place 37 years ago when the park opened. Like most of his neighbors, he pays about $1,000 a month for the space he rents and his utilities are much cheaper than a senior apartment building. "You get a little tiny space for almost $3,000 a month. You get one meal a day. I can't afford that," he said.

But Tripp and the others may have no choice. The family that owns the mobile home park is planning to sell it to a builder who mostly likely will convert it into a huge development. The seniors aren't going to leave without a fight. They've come up with another option.

"We would like them to sell the park to us and we would like for it to remain a place for us to live," resident Marijo Pokriotes said.

The residents next battle ground may be the San Jose City Council, which needs to change the zoning before a commercial development can be built here.

The owner of the park did not return a call from ABC7 News.

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