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