City Council votes to challenge December ruling from Santa Clara County Superior Court
by Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto Weekly
Palo Alto will appeal a recent court ruling in which a judge overturned the city’s decision to allow the closure of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park.
The City Council voted unanimously in a closed session on Jan. 9 to file the appeal. City Attorney Molly Stump said the appeal would be filed early Friday.
The city is challenging a Dec. 21 ruling from Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Brian Walsh, who reversed the council’s 2015 decision to approve the closure application from the Jisser family, which owns the mobile-home park off El Camino Real. The council’s 2015 vote came several months after Administrative Officer Craig Labadie reached his own decision on the closure application and deemed it to be complete.
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HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA
BEGINS STEPS TO ACQUIRE BUENA VISTA MOBILE HOME PARK
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian today praised the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara’s Board of Commissioners for authorizing the potential acquisition and improvement of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto.
In a meeting held earlier today, the Housing Authority Board considered an appraisal of the value of the mobile home park, and voted unanimously to allow their Executive Director Katherine Harasz to send an offer letter to the park owner and begin negotiations.
The Housing Authority’s action is the most recent step forward in implementing a three-way collaboration (approved earlier this year in June) that includes funding from the County of Santa Clara and the City of Palo Alto.
“This is an important step forward,” said Simitian. “With everyone pulling together we’re well positioned to preserve 117 units of affordable housing, prevent the eviction of 400 low income residents, and ensure that the current property owner receives full and fair market value for the property.”
“We have a mission and challenge to preserve affordable housing for the people of our community,” said Harasz. “With this effort, we hope to secure this park for today’s residents and future generations.”
Palo Alto, Calif., has a dilemma: what to do with its only mobile-home park
By CHRISTINA PASSARIELLO, Wall Street Journal
PALO ALTO, Calif.—Here in the center of Silicon Valley’s tech boom, one of America’s wealthiest enclaves is wrestling with an uncomfortable dilemma: whether it can afford to lose the city’s only trailer park.
A block from multimillion-dollar homes and a few miles from the headquarters of GoogleInc. and Facebook Inc. sits Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, with 117 units that are home to about 400 residents, many of them Hispanic laborers.
Erika Escalante, 29 years old, has lived in the park much of her life. The mobile home she owns with her husband is watermelon red with white trim. The yellow trailer three doors down, where she lived during high school, is still home to her parents and youngest brother. Her sister’s family has a green unit in the park, where some rusty trailers still sport Christmas decorations in summer.
Soon, they may be forced out. With property values soaring, the park’s longtime owners, 44-year-old Joe Jisser and his parents, are fielding inquiries from developers eager for a rare large slice of Palo Alto. The value of the park’s 4.5 acres could be as much as $55 million, local real-estate agents say.
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“I was a peddler, a con artist, a vinegar man,” he says, recalling years of relentless travel as a seed salesman. “If you didn’t get ’em with your BS, you got ’em with your fancy footwork.”
Now, Cope is just trying to stay put. He and 400 of his neighbors in the mobile home park await the outcome of a frantic effort by one of America’s richest cities to preserve what is, by far, its poorest neighborhood. For the past several months, city and county officials have conducted public hearings on the park’s possible closure that had more feel-good endings than a Frank Capra movie.
Supervisors allocate another $6.5 million,
contingent on match from Palo Alto
Santa Clara County supervisors on Tuesday upped the ante in a bid to preserve the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park when they unanimously voted to allocate an additional $6.5 million toward the cause, contingent on a similar match from Palo Alto.
With little discussion, the Board of Supervisors voted to contribute $6.5 million from its affordable-housing fund for the purchase of Buena Vista. The new allocation raises the county’s potential contribution toward preserving Palo Alto’s sole mobile-home park to $14.5 million.
On June 29, the City Council will discuss Buena Vista and consider its next steps. If the council chooses to match the county’s contribution, the total set aside by the city and the county would go up to $29 million. All of the contributions pledged by the city and the county thus far would come from funds designated for affordable housing.
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On Tuesday morning, June 23, 2015 the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will meet to consider a proposal by Supervisors Joseph Simitian and Dave Cortese to set aside an additional $6.5 million from the County’s Stanford GUP Affordable Housing Fund to be used to provide a portion of the necessary funding to secure deed-restricted affordable housing units at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park.
The meeting will begin at 9:15 AM in the Board of Supervisor’s Chambers in the County Government Building at 70 West Hedding Street in San Jose. [Directions]
If the proposal is passed by the Board of Supervisors, the total set-aside from the Stanford GUP Affordable Housing Fund would be $14.5 million, subject to further authorization by the Board of Supervisors. County funds will be set aside contingent on a 1:1 match with funds set aside by the City of Palo Alto… Requiring a 1:1 match with City funds would ensure the local commitment necessary for this project to be successful. This is an opportunity for the County to leverage its limited funding, and to act effectively on our oft-stated commitment to affordable housing.
The full text of the proposal is available here.