Aurora’s mobile home task force recommends city adopt consumer protections for residents

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AURORA | A task force assigned to study the issue of affordable housing related to mobile home parks in the city and surrounding areas suggests that a task force and other supportive measures are needed to ensure fairness to residents. 

The recommendations — which include creating a permanent mobile home task force, creating more educational materials and defining best practices for park owners — comes on the heels of the expiration of a 10-month moratorium the city council approved in March that disallowed the redevelopment of the city’s 12 mobile home parks. 

The report was presented to a city council committee Wednesday.

Most notably, the residents of Denver Meadows Mobile Home Park have been fighting against the closure of their park, which they say has not accurately communicated the closure to current and future residents. Residents have also told council members during meetings they’ve encountered acts of retaliation from park owners for trying to stop the sale of the property near I-225 and Colfax Ave. in northern Aurora.

Empty pads are riddled throughout the Denver Meadows Mobile Home and RV Park, as residents anticipate the parks closure by the end of 2018, forcing the remaining residents to relocate.
Photo by Philip B. Poston/Sentinel

The task force, which was born from the moratorium, was made up of mobile home park residents and housing experts. Members of the task force that presented the recommendations Wednesday said a mobile home park owner did attend two meetings. City staff said Mayor Bob LeGare reached out to every mobile home park in the city and did not receive any replies.

The task force is hoping they’ll be more than just temporary to help solve problems facing communities living in mobile home parks, often described as the last affordable housing option around the Denver metro region.

“There are still a lot of education pieces that need to happen,” said Petra Bennet, a member of the task force who has called Denver Meadows home for nearly two decades. “If we create a permanent task force we would present quarterly to council.”

The task force also wants to see the city council adopt more policies that protect mobile home residents from being force out of their communities. One recommendation asks council to “mandate that all residents who are directly impacted by rezoning should be notified individually and provided with clear information about the implications of (the) rezoning at least three months prior to rezoning, in accruable with other zoning applications.” 

Currently residents receive a 10-day notice, which residents have said is hardly enough time to find a new home that could accommodate the mobile homes that they own.

Other recommendations include reviewing the current rezoning process, incentivizing mobile home park owners with infrastructure improvements and providing residents with a collective purchase opportunity.

A private group made a $20.3 million offer to buy the Denver Meadows park, but was turned down by the owner. Under the moratorium the owner could have still sold the land, but it could not be rezoned, and therefore redeveloped.

Task force members would also like to see a requirement that land owners who sell their parks have a relocation plan or provide relocation assistance and a local preference policy that gives priority to displaced residents for new units. 

None of the recommendations are certain yet. Council plans to review a final report from the task force next month at a study session. 

In the meantime, residents of Denver Meadows plan to confront city council members about doing more for the residents at the Jan. 28 meeting. 

“We have successfully been able to push back the closure until this point but what the city has been offering is going to cause residents to be pushed further into poverty and lose their entire investment and source of equity within days,” organizer wrote in a Facebook event that urges people to participate in a hearing. 

“Join us in supporting residents as they demand that each household receive at least $20,000, which still pales in comparison to what they are actually losing since most homes cannot be moved at all  due to city ordinances.”