Mobile home park residents do not seem to hate the idea of a new form of internal governing as a result of changes to their municipal code. In fact, some even think it could be beneficial in settling appeal hearings.
It’s the apparent suddenness of the topic many are not thrilled with.
Resident of Greenbrier Mobile Estates of 35 years Kevin Eliason said doing away with the five-person panel of two residents, two owners and an impartial fifth member in favor of an administrative hearing officer may not be a bad idea, but he wants to have the option to speak with the city council first.
“If they’ve already made up their mind, then what’s the point of it?” Eliason said. “It’s not an even playing field. If they want to make a change, this is not the way to go about it.”
Greenbrier, however, is only one of 17 mobile home parks with some 2,000 residents in the Santa Clarita Valley were invited by mail to attend one of two public meetings on Monday and Tuesday, and around 60 people attended.
“If the city can convince us, great, but they can’t convince us by sending us paper,” he said.
According to Eliason, there should have been conversations before those meetings and there should be an opportunity for more before the council’s meeting on April 25 to tentatively discuss the topic.
“We have been misled about this whole process,” Eliason said. “We didn’t know this was in the works.”
Eliason said the officer position could have merit depending on the subcontractor’s qualifications, and does not think the panel is the best way to settle these appeal hearings.
“If it’s time for a change, let’s sit down and discuss it,” he said.
Eliason said he does not have an issue with the owners of his park and has been happy with the way it has been operated.
“Overall, this park is the best one in the city,” Eliason said. “It’s got to be because of the way the management keeps it. I wouldn’t stay here for 35 years if I didn’t like it.”
Greenbrier Home Owner’s Association President Bruce Velie said ideally, there would not be a municipal code at all and deems it unnecessary.
Velie, as well as Eliason, said they have been unhappy for years with “pass throughs” where residents pay additional fees for updates to their park in addition to their rent.
Residents should not have to pay such high rent increases and should have a voice in rent appeals, Velie said.
“I think it should be skewed a little more toward the renter,” he said.
The resident said he sees benefits to having an officer, but thinks residents should be able to appeal to the city council if they do not like the verdict of their first appeal.
In addition to the possible addition of the hearing officer, the code’s language will be updated in some sections.
To Velie, some changes should not have been done and other sections should be changed that were not. He did not point to specifics.
Colleen Secola, a 12-year resident of Greenbrier, said she does not think the panel has worked in favor of the residents in the past.
However, she said the two members of the panel that are residents have been beneficial, but often get overridden by the other three members.
“I’d say get rid of the panel,” Secola said. “They always vote against us.”
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