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Mobile home advocates offer to help Costa Mesa

March 15, 2013|By Bradley Zint

With news of Anchor Trailer Port's potential closure to make way for condominiums, a statewide mobile home park advocacy group is trying to gain membership in Costa Mesa.

The organization would like to assist the City Council if it looks into adopting an ordinance about future mobile home park closures.

A representative with the nonprofit Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League, or GSMOL, last month paid a visit to a small gathering at Greenleaf, a Westside mobile home park on Whittier Avenue.

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Mary Jo Baretich left that Feb. 9 meeting worried about the future of the city's smaller parks, ones like Anchor Trailer Port on Newport Boulevard whose residents face an uncertain future and a reportedly difficult closure process.

Baretich, a volunteer whose service area with GSMOL includes Orange County, thinks more mobile home park closures are on the way for Costa Mesa, especially in the Westside where some properties could have desirable ocean views.

"They may be looking at redevelopment down the line," Baretich said. "I believe the small [parks] may be hit first."

Pending development for Banning Ranch in Newport Beach is another factor that may affect mobile homes along or near 15th, 16th and 17th streets, she said.

Baretich is trying to make residents aware of her organization, which is mostly volunteer-run and can provide legal advice. Annual membership dues are $25, which go toward a lobbyist, attorney and office staff.

As of last week, though, GSMOL had 20 members from Costa Mesa's 18 mobile home parks, Baretich said, a small amount compared to Huntington Beach's 107-member roster.

Councilwomen Wendy Leece and Sandy Genis, both of whom attended the February meeting, have said they would support a mobile home park closure ordinance for Costa Mesa, though any movement toward one now is preliminary. They also encouraged residents to join GSMOL.

"It's a matter of being supportive of the organic movement that's started by the residents," Genis said, adding that if a closure ordinance were approved, it could possibly save the city money in the long run.

Any new effort to make a closure law, though, wouldn't be the first for Costa Mesa.

About a decade ago, a mobile home park closure ordinance was successful after a drawn-out Planning Commission phase, but failed the final step of getting council approval. The process happened around the time when two mobile home parks — Snug Harbor and El Nido — closed, and residents there complained of not getting fair compensation and other concerns.

Baretich said GSMOL is there to help. Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Laguna Beach are a few cities who have laws that address mobile home park conversions, according to GSMOL.

"It's difficult sometimes for cities to come up with this on their own," she said. "That's why I'm proposing a committee of some sort."

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @bradleyzint

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