The California Coastal Commission maintains that a “repair and maintenance” project taking place at a mobile home park in Pacifica violates the Coastal Act which may lead to fines and penalties.
The city and staff at the statewide commission have been at odds for months over work being done at the Pacific Skies Estates, a mobile home park with 93 units on the cliff’s edge to the ocean.
The commission alleges the work goes far beyond repair and is a complete redevelopment since every mobile home on the site is set to be replaced by new prefabricated homes.
The full commission is now set to hold a public hearing on the matter during its three-day meeting starting April 13 in Santa Rosa, according to a letter sent to Pacifica City Manager Lorie Tinfow Jan. 15 by the commission’s District Manager Nancy Cave.
“We believe it is in the city’s and the public’s best interests to allow the process to be brought to resolution in a public hearing in front of the commission where you can state your case and members of the public can fully participate. We would hope that you would agree,” Cave wrote in the letter, which was also sent to Tony Ferrero, managing member of Pacific Skies Estates, LLC.
The park’s owners received a permit from the state Department of Housing and Community Development Agency, the governing body over all mobile home parks in the state, for the proposed work back in 2013 and the city signed off on it, declaring it exempt for the need to obtain a Coastal Development Permit.
But commission staff maintain the exemption should not have been given.
“Due both to lack of documentation and recent materials provided by the public, it is not even clear that the city’s 2013 exemption determination was made in relation to the PSE development project or some other much smaller project (i.e., materials recently provided to us suggest the city exempted only the demolition and rebuild of a clubhouse structure on a parcel adjacent to PSE at 12 Sharon Way,” Cave wrote in the letter.
Some tenants of the park first got eviction notices last July and ownership offered many of them up to $15,000 in relocation assistance.
Not everyone, however, has accepted the package saying it is too little considering the area’s skyrocketing rental market.
Most of the mobile homes or trailers were once owned by the tenants but ownership started buying them out years ago. Those who did own their mobile homes were protected by rent control and paid below-market rents.
The owners, however, want to remove all the old homes on the property off Palmetto Avenue, replace them with newer models and charge much higher rents.
Pacifica officials have held strong that the extensive renovations taking place do not require a permit from the California Coastal Commission despite the agency’s claim that it does. They have called the work routine “repair and maintenance.”
Pacifica officials say the agency has no authority to reconsider the city’s exemption determination, according to a letter sent to the commission Dec. 29.
Late last year, private equity firm the Carlyle Group invested $42 million to bring in new manufactured homes and upgrade the streets and utilities at the park.
Ownership’s goal is to have 75 percent vacancy by the end of January, said Carol McDermott, an adviser to the ownership group.
The park in Pacifica is now mostly vacant as construction crews are busy dismantling the abandoned trailers and ancillary structures.
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