Mad River Union
ARCATA – As mobilehome owners struggle to stay afloat with rising rents, the City of Arcata is considering the landscape of the market in coming years.
The role of mobilehome parks in addressing affordable housing requirements is essential in Humboldt, and an increasing amount of the owners of these sites are considering converting them to other uses, which could place a burden on an already taxed market for affordable housing.
To help put the brakes on such development, the city is placing disincentives, including relocation stipends, on mobilehome park owners.
At the Oct. 8 meeting of the Arcata Planning Commission, residents of Lazy J Ranch trailer park spoke of their concerns the relocation requirements on land owners were not robust enough to protect vulnerable residents, most of whom are retired.
After hearing from concerned residents at the hearing, the planning commission decided to bolster protections for displaced tenants as well as providing for affordable housing in any future developments.
The city’s mobile home zoning plan would affect every mobile home park in the city.
Except one: Arcata Trailer Court.
David Loya, director of community development, says the reason for the disparity is simple – while the city is discouraging redevelopment on most parks, talks have been ongoing with the owner of Arcata Trailer Park to convert the site to a mixed-use space in accordance with the plan for the Arcata Gateway area.
But the owner isn’t interested.
“There’s no incentive for that person to change their use right now,” he said, “the property is making money. In order for that property to be even considered for conversion, the city would have do something to make the conversion prospects so valuable that the land owner would start to think about either converting that property or selling it to someone who would.”
As far as what the city is doing in terms of affordable housing, Loya said if you compare Arcata to surrounding communities, the city is clearly doing all it can.
“The situation is dire out there,” he said. “We’ll continue to do the best we can to bring quality projects to the city of Arcata. I think housing quality and housing equality are things we need to address.”