Palo Alto Mulls Sale of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park

The City of Palo Alto has appointed an administrator to settle a longtime dispute on whether the city's last mobile home park should be sold to make way for luxury apartments.

A scheduled three-day hearing for Buena Vista Mobile Home Park's future began Monday.

"I just kind of start crying just to think about that feeling," said Erika Escalante, a resident of the mobile home park who may be forced out if the sale goes through. "It's our home. It's where I grew up. I have so many memories."

The Jisser family has owned and operated the mobile home park for nearly three decades. A developer has offered $30 million to build luxury apartments on the 4.5-acre property.

The city administrator also is checking if the proposed compensation to 117 households as part of the sale is fair.

"It is the legal right of a private property owner in California, especially a mobile park owner to close, convert or cease the operation of a mobile home park," said Margaret Nanda, an attorney representing the Jisser family.

However, many residents at the mobile home park said it's not about the money as they would like to keep their children in the highly-rated Palo Alto school district, where test scores exceed the statewide average.

Residents, who also held a rally Monday, said there are nearly 100 children living in the mobile home park. Those kids likely would be forced out of the district as their families can't afford housing elsewhere in the city.

A non-profit organization has offered about $15 million to keep the mobile home park.

Once the hearing concludes on Wednesday, city officials are expected to make a decision on Buena Vista's future several weeks after.

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