September 15, 2012

Buenas Noches for Buena Vista

We’ve dropped by the Buena Vista “Mobil Home Park,” the only trailer park in Palo Alto, a few times.  But Burbed reader Stefan alerts us that the much-maligned mobile mews may be moving on.  Thanks very much!

Burbed reader Real Estater also mentioned this article in comments.

Palo Alto mobile-home park faces redevelopment

Buena Vista residents could be forced out to make way for apartments

by Sue Dremann, Palo Alto Weekly Staff

120914-bvista-overviewBuena Vista, the only surviving mobile-home park in Palo Alto, could soon be history, according to city officials.

Residents in the 117-unit park located at 3980 El Camino Real received a letter from property owner/manager Joe Jisser last week informing them that his family is exploring redevelopment options.

The family has owned Buena Vista, located near Los Robles Avenue behind a strip mall, since 1986, Jisser said on Monday. They are working with Prometheus Real Estate Group in San Mateo.

Prometheus specializes in the acquisition, development and management of residential and commercial properties and builds apartments, according to its website. It also focuses on transit-oriented development in areas that are close to corporate campuses, such as Apple in Cupertino and Google in Mountain View.

You think 15 units per acre is too dense for Palo Alto?  Promethius Development has many more rent-paying people per parcel planned for what they’re putting in.  Try 40 units an acre.  If you’ve read this book, just imagine life in The Stacks (which are literally mobile homes stacked into slum towers).

120914-bvista-pride-of-ownershipWhy is the owner finally considering selling out, after owning the park since 1986?  Infrastructure.  Water pipes and electrical wires and transmission are nearing the end of their useful life, and state codes have changed.  It isn’t enough to replace them, they’d have to be upgrades.  Not only that, most of the mobile homes in the park are too old to handle new systems.  And not only has the electrical code changed.  So has the law on spacing the units themselves.  Keeping the park legally open is going to become very, very expensive.

Meanwhile, the City of Palo Alto has a plan for development, and that includes multifamily homes along El Camino Real.  So apartment blocks are looking pretty likely.  And the low-income folks living here may well be SOL.  There is a city law that says they should get moving-out money, but realistically, there aren’t a lot of places they can go.  Many of them will move out in advance of the paid relocation, simply to ensure finding subsidized housing elsewhere.

Be sure to check out the comments on this article.  Some posters are glad to see the park go, and some prefer it stay in favor of a denser apartmentplex.  Of course most of them are worried about all those extra kids moving into THEIR SCHOOLS.  Because anyone moving into an apartment isn’t a Real Palo Alto Resident and should never be allowed to enroll.  We can’t understand why the trailer trolls are allowed, either.

But fear not.  Even if the BV is scraped to the ground and a shiny new (and dense) apartment complex goes up in its place, there will always be mobile home living in Palo Alto.

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

12 Responses to “Buenas Noches for Buena Vista”

  1. SEA Says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but former trailer park grounds will never be RBA. That’s not to mention right sides of wrong streets.

  2. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Million dollar education will now cost one million dollar.

  3. Facebook Investor Says:

    What a relief! The “snowflakes” of Palo Alto homeowners (except those who can afford to send their kids to private schools) don’t have to sit next to some trailer park kids in their classrooms.

  4. Real Estater Says:

    I hope the developer realizes the heavy resistance they will encounter with their apartment proposal. Palo Alto is not like any other city. Residents have a voice here, and the community is far from passive.

    Look at what happened to the Google proposal in Mountain View. It got shot down in flames due to neighborhood complaints. If residents don’t stop these developers, they will come in and ruin the peninsula communities to make a profit.

  5. SEA Says:

    “If residents don’t stop these developers, they will come in and ruin the peninsula communities to make a profit.”

    No doubt–let’s keep the trailer park!

  6. madhaus Says:

    1. Palo Alto is not like any other city; residents have a voice here. They will not be passive about high-density housing.

    2. Look at how residents in Mountain View, which is like any other city, stopped the high-density Google housing plans.

    So tell me again how Palo Alto is not like Mountain View.

  7. Real Estater Says:

    Let me quote 2 reader comments from the article that tell it as it is:

    >>Posted by A Palo Altan, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Palo Alto today is no place for a trailer park. If you want to replace it with modest housing that might be affordable to what passes around here for middle class then fine. This is a highly desirable community– desirable communities are expensive to live in. If you make them cheap to live in, they will no longer be so desirable. Look at the places around the Bay Area with inexpensive housing. Are the liberals who bleat about this relocation moving there? No. Those who find Palo Alto too economically un-diverse for their preferences are welcome to live in any number of other places in the Bay Area. There is no need to keep an anachronism in the city out of misplaced sentimentality.

    >>Posted by KP, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

    This is just another one of our city councils’ absolutely STUPID thoughts about “improving” our city. I believe what everyone says about none of the council members living in Palo Alto!

    We have over crowded schools – with the district trying to find new locations.

    We do NOT want or need more housing.

    We have too many UGLY developments already!

    We have too much traffic.

    Get an f’ing clue!

    Leave our city alone!

  8. madhaus Says:

    Note that neither comment explained why Palo Alto is not like Mountain View.

  9. SEA Says:

    Didn’t we all agree to not discuss P*** A***?

  10. Crissa Says:

    I remember one article back when the baby-bullets were being scheduled with parents up in arms about CalTrain ‘bringing these high speed dangers into our neighborhoods!’ and griping that they were there before the trains… Which is odd, since trains have run on that line since before Stanford was there, let alone Palo Alto.

    I forget what the free palo alto-only newspaper is called, but the letter page was hilarious.

  11. Dewane Says:

    Palo Altans are the only citizens of a community who post negative comments to articles. They “tell it like it is”. There’s the difference, friend.

  12. Palo Alto still clinging to its one and only trailer park [] Says:

    […] owner of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park wants out of the business, the units are vintage architectural treasures, and the residents love the value they get in the […]

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