MHProNews published a story on October 18, 2013 reporting that the owners of California’s Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, the Jissers, were interested in selling the community of 104 homes for possibly over $30 million if their plan is approved by the city of Palo Alto, where the median home price is $2.46 million.
At the time, according to the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, the city was required to have 1,200 affordable housing units by 2014, had only 200, and would lose more if Buena Vista closed.
Fast forward to 2015: Still trying to close the manufactured home community (MHC), the Jissers were told by the city of Palo Alto they will have to pay at least $8 million, possibly more, to residents for relocation costs to close the community, according to pacificlegal.
Represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Jissers have filed suit against the city of Palo Alto, alleging the high price violates the U. S. Constitution’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment limitations of taking private property for public use. The lawsuit also alleges this demand for payment violates California law regarding excessive relocation costs of a community’s residents.
“No one should be forced to carry on a business that they want to close,” said PLF Attorney Larry Salzman. “The city is treating the Jissers as an ATM to solve a problem they didn’t cause — the lack of affordable housing in Palo Alto. That’s not just wrong, it’s unconstitutional.”
“The way to make housing affordable in Palo Alto is to build more housing,” Salzman noted. “The city has for decades refused to permit enough housing to be built to meet the skyrocketing demand, and it is now shamefully scapegoating the Jissers for its own failure.”
The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that individual property owners may not be forced by the government to shoulder the costs of public benefits.
The Jisser’s son, Joe, who now manages Buena Vista, says his parents immigrated here in the 1970s with nothing and built a successful business, but now the state is trampling on them.
“Our family has worked hard for 30 years to provide safe and affordable housing here,” he continued. “Now we’re told by the city that providing that service is not enough, that we have to pay a staggering amount of money just to close our business. It’s not fair for the city to force us to pay our tenants millions of dollars as the price of my parents’ retirement.” ##
(Photo credit: nbcbayarea–Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, Palo Alto, California)
Article submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.