Palo Alto

Palo Alto City Council Approves Sale of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park

The Palo Alto City Council on Tuesday night voted unanimously to allow the sale of a mobile home park serving low-income residents.

The 5-acre Buena Vista Mobile Home Park at 3980 El Camino Real, owned by Toufic Jisser through a family trust, offers more than 100 units for about 400 residents.

Jisser had submitted an application on November 2012 to sell the park to a private developer, which was approved Tuesday by the council.

Jisser selected Capitola-based real estate agency Beccaria & Weber, Inc. to conduct an appraisal of the mobile home park, which determined that the average value of each home was $18,816 in April 2013.

A hearing on the application took place in May 2014 and the hearing officer issued a decision in September that the owner might offer the fair market value of each mobile home, three months' rent and moving expenses or a lump sum equal to the difference between renting a space at the park and an apartment in cities surrounding Palo Alto for 12 months.

The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park Residents' Association appealed the hearing officer's decision in October, arguing that the appraised value of each home was too low.

Under city ordinance, the mobile home park's owner must pay the costs of residents relocating within 35 miles of the park.

The association contended that the mobile home park's owner plan lists an appraisal value below the costs of homes within 35 miles of the park and does not identify where the residents can move.

The City Council decided in January to hold a hearing on the appeal in April despite Jisser's request to dismiss the appeal.

After hearing testimony from both sides in April, the City Council ruled against the residents association's appeal and unanimously decided to move forward with the hearing officer's decision to sell the mobile home park with an updated appraisal to be completed within six months.

The Council also ruled that the updated appraisal should have a scope of work that reflects the value of public safety and schools around the mobile home park and if the updated appraisal is above the April 2013 amount, Jisser will have to the higher amount.

In a letter dated May 5, David F. Beccaria, CEO of Beccaria & Weber, Inc., said, "no changes should be made to our Scope of Work or our appraisal methodology."

Beccaria also said in the letter that his agency will conduct additional appraisals if the City Council approves its original scope of work and methodology.

The residents' association said in a letter dated May 12 to City Attorney Molly Stump that the City Council should appoint a different appraiser.

At Tuesday's meeting, the council also appointed a peer review board to examine a second appraisal.

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
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