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After an 11-year-long legal battle, the fight over De Anza Cove in Mission Bay is over.

On Tuesday, December 16, city-council members will sign off on a $32-million payout in relocation fees for mobile-home owners. By doing so, the city will be allowed to retake control of the prime piece of land in the middle of Mission Bay.

The land dispute began in 2003, shortly after the park's lease with the city expired. The city chose not to renew for several reasons, one of which being the low rent that park residents were paying partly because of complex state laws protecting mobile-home owners from being forced from their homes. One of the tenets in the law requires the land owner to pay for the homeowners’ relocation and other mitigation fees.

City officials opted to fight paying tens of millions of dollars to retake the land. Owners stood their ground. Then in May of this year, a superior court judge ruled that relocation fees were required. In September, city officials offered to pay the residents $22 million in addition to legal fees. Again, park residents stood their ground.

Their decision worked out for them, according to the December 16 city-council agenda.

"The Court ruled that the Mobilehome Residency Law requires the City to compensate tenants to mitigate the impact of the closure of the mobile home park. The payment of the judgment will resolve all claims brought by these class members in this lawsuit."

The $32 million will come from the following sources: $11.8 from the De Anza Cove Operating Fund, $18.2 from a public contingency fund, and the remaining will be taken from the public liability fund.

Councilmembers are expected to finalize the deal during the 10 a.m. meeting.

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Comments

AlexClarke Dec. 11, 2014 @ 6:22 a.m.

Do the residents that already moved get anything or just the ones that hung in there? This is just another example of the incompetence of the city attorney choosing to spend millions to defend an action that impacted the least able to fight. Goldsmith should be removed from office.

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Dryw Keltz Dec. 11, 2014 @ 10:05 a.m.

I was wondering this as well @ Edward Price. Looks like there are 509 lots in the park, so if it is completely occupied, each resident will receive $62,868.37. That doesn't seem all that great for that piece of real-estate! The original $22 million would have left each owner (in the same scenario) with $43,222.00. I am glad the home-owners held out for the better deal. I can only imagine how much of a headache a relocation like this could be.

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Dorian Hargrove Dec. 11, 2014 @ 3:13 p.m.

Sorry for leaving that out, Dryw. Just under 300 owners remained in the park and were part of the lawsuit. Thx. -dH

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dank2 Dec. 12, 2014 @ 3:42 p.m.

Considering they don't own the land, I think that is a very good deal for them. The money is for relocation cost, and 62k is quite the chunk of money to pay for moving costs. I am not glad they got this money as it comes straight from the rest of the taxpayers.

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Javajoe25 Dec. 11, 2014 @ 6:57 p.m.

I must be confused. I'm under the impression the residents own their mobile homes, not the land. They pay rent for the space they occupy, just like in any other mobile home park. The owner of the land is the City of SD. The City leases the land to the operator of the park: Campland on the Bay. The mobile home owners are being paid something like $60K+ for moving expenses. Unless I missed a chapter in this story, the mobies are doing damn good, all things considered.

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Dorian Hargrove Dec. 11, 2014 @ 7:27 p.m.

JavaJoe: The law requires the land owner to pay a certain amount in relocation fees. There's a bunch of factors that decide the amount. Among the issues, is the homes aren't all that mobile. If they do decide to move them to another park, it is costly and home owners must pay to get a spot somewhere. The law is complex. For a judge to decide that $22 million (plus attorney's fees) means the owners must have made a pretty good case.-dH

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AlexClarke Dec. 12, 2014 @ 6:14 a.m.

Mobile homes are not mobile and many are manufactured homes and are not mobile. Many times, if not most, it costs more to move a home than it is worth. Additionally most of the residents of a mobile home park are seniors on fixed incomes and are unable to financially afford a move. In this case they had a bad landlord.

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Visduh Dec. 13, 2014 @ 9:13 a.m.

After following this story for many years, I have recollections that the city had only itself to blame for the financial mess. That was supposed to be something like what we now call a RV park, for short term use by tourists visiting the city. But, like many or most other such parks, that wasn't what happened, and the operator of the facility allowed those permanent residents to settle in for the long term. The city should have never allowed that to happen, but nobody cared back then. Those mobile or manufactured homes were seldom made to last long, and forty years ago a really nice, large one could be bought for around $5,000. So, if some of those at De Anza are that old, chances are that they are fit for nothing more than salvage, and are only barely fit for human occupancy. Where could they move the homes locally? I'm unaware of any new parks opening up near the coast, and maybe none have been developed in the county in a long time. Moreover, parks are closing all the time, meaning that fewer and fewer parks and spaces are available. The old timers in De Anza will likely leave San Diego, or end up renting in the city.

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CaptainObvious Dec. 13, 2014 @ 4:03 p.m.

Many parks and some counties (regarding placement on private property) require that a mobile homes be under a certain age. Most of those on the bay will have to be abandoned and demolished on-site. Are the owners going to pay for that out of their settlements? I'd like to know where they plan on moving to, most parks are full to capacity.

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eastlaker Dec. 13, 2014 @ 7:10 p.m.

Does anyone remember the guy from Florida who was active in the comments on various real estate issues here a year or so ago? He kept repeating that he thought San Diego could be the "new South Beach" or something like that? Who knows, maybe someone was listening.

I certainly hope ten or so eighty story buildings won't be built there. I hope that the public is able to keep height limits to a reasonable level at least.

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foxx333 Dec. 14, 2014 @ 1:15 a.m.

FYI there isn't a mobile home park in the state that will take a home over 10 years. The city created this mess and knew what they were doing and didn't care. They tried to strong arm people into leaving with their scare tactics to get out of paying them. Originally there were 510 mobiles homes here when the city took over the park. About 32 million the lawyers will get 10 million of it. The other 22 million will be split between 332 families. So each family will be lucky if they get $66,265.00. True be known they are paying on your mobile home size, so most people won't get more than 50,000.00 if that. It sure makes me wonder why the city spent 7 million on this foot bridge on rose creek a couple of years ago. Think about it 7 million on a footbridge from De Anza to Campland. This was the last place in this area a person that is retired could afford to live.Now they have taken that away and where are all these going to go?? Most can't afford the price of rent anywhere in San Diego much less the beach area. It's sad to see so many elderly people who should be enjoying their golden years forced out of their homes with no place to go and not enough money to buy another home. This is your government hard at work screwing you again.I thought the government was working for us not against us.

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Condoqueen5801 Dec. 15, 2014 @ 12:15 a.m.

Oh stop it will you. Since the early 1990's anybody in the old trailer/ mobile park knew their days were numbers. If they are still alive? Owners die but do litigators? Give it a break. I've been in San Diego since 1978 and this place is a blast from the past. Stop the crying and take the $22m.

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Surferjohn Dec. 16, 2014 @ 10:19 a.m.

Ha! This has been a most entertaining post. As a Manufactured Home dealer, Real Estate Broker, General and Manufactured Home Contractor and developer in the Manufactured Home industry for the past 3 decades in San Diego and as an owner of several manufactured homes I can tell you first hand that the most intelligent answer I've read so far is Condoqueen5801.

In a sentence get off of it, get over it and get on with it. This battle has been going on since the 80's not just the past 11 years. It was inevitable and all the homeowners knew their days were numbered for decades.

This reminds me of a little trailer in El Morro Cove, Laguna Beach, that my family had for over 50 years (late 40's to mid 90's). The State Park system acquired that land from the Irvine Company in the late 70's and at that time informed the residents that they would be closing it down and converting it into a campsite and day park.

During that time the tenants were extended a 20 year lease and two subsequent 5 year leases from the State. However, the tenants still sued for a last ditch effort to purchase the property and turn it into a resident owned community which they never had a chance in Hell to win. It just bought them a little time.

But my wife and I just looked at it philosophically realizing that we had 4 beautiful generations of enjoying one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the World and needed to accept it and move on. After all we can't really kick and scream about losing something we never owned in the first place.

Add to all the above the fact that that park community is old and many of those homes are in pretty bad shape and in many if not most cases haven't been to well maintained given the fact that the tenants knew their days were numbered and didn't want to invest heaps of money into them.

So lets quit brooding in our beer and accept the fact that the only constant in life is change. San Diego is one of the most beautiful and well planned out cities on the planet and they have exercised extreme care in maintaing and planning that beauty. So it's time to wake up and smell the sea water and let the tide continue bringing in the waves of witch everyone is new and unique unto itself.

Thanks for indulging me in my rant but this subject hits a never whenever it comes up.

1

gwhaley03 Dec. 16, 2014 @ 7:04 p.m.

Surferjohn, Nice rant, however, sort of irrelevant; the issue is not whether they will leave; rather, will they in essence be paid just compensation for the long term ground lease property take and damages caused by the City. Appears to be a constitutional issue among other things. The judge awarded attorney fees which tells me their constitutional rights among other things were violated in the process. Unfortunately, tax payers will suffer the consequences, including prior poor landlord/agent judgement.

Thanks for sharing your post.

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