Cash cows?

New county ordinance establishes process for closing mobile-home parks



By Brian Bullock/Staff Writer | Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 12:15 am | (2) Comments

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Depending on your point of view, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors either protected a substantial portion of its affordable housing or made it nearly impossible for mobile-home park owners to close their parks for any reason.

The supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to amend the County Land Use and Development Code and Coastal Zoning Ordinance by establishing a procedure for the closure of mobile-home parks. The decision ended an effort that stretched back over some 18 months and brought a sigh of relief to mobile home owners in parks throughout the county.

The ordinance created a permit process which requires a closure impact report, relocation assistance for displaced owners, and a review by the county Planning Commission.

The process can be initiated by a request from the park owner or a 25-percent vacancy rate.

Mobile-home owners and park residents, including San Luis Obispo County resident Ron Faas, who worked with the county Planning Department to craft the ordinance, lined up to support measure.

Faas compared ordinances in San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Santa Cruz counties, Seal Beach, Oxnard and Huntington Beach to the proposal in Santa Barbara County.

Relocation assistance and determining the cost to replace mobile homes upon closure was a point of contention between home and park owners.

The ordinance offers two options.

If a mobile home can be moved, it requires the park owner to pay for relocation costs, up to 30 nights of housing, and one year