SONOMA SUPES EXTEND BAN ON MOBILE HOME CONVERSIONS

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Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors today extended for six months an emergency ordinance that imposes a moratorium on the conversion of mobile homes to resident ownership. The ordinance passed in October was to expire Thursday. The board could have extended it until October 2007. The Santa Rosa City Council passed a similar ordinance.

Residents, mostly seniors, of two mobile home parks facing the conversion packed the supervisors’ chambers for a hearing on the ordinance. They said they fear they will lose rent control protection if they do not agree to convert their homes to ownership.

The owners of the Sequoia Gardens and Leisure Park mobile home parks in Santa Rosa and the Country Mobile Home Park in unincorporated Sonoma County are considering converting the parks to resident ownership. There are 540 mobile home spaces within those three parks and Leisure Park is an all-age park. The other two are senior parks.

Richard Close, the attorney for Sequoia Gardens, said pre-empting the conversion via a moratorium violates state law and that rents would not increase beyond the annual consumer price index amount each year “forever.”

Those mobile home residents who agree to ownership will own the land under their homes and a share of all common areas in the park, Close said. Residents of the parks said they could not afford the mortgage to buy their home and the space rent, both of which could amount to between $2,000 and $3,000 a month.