MercuryNews reports on the ever-developing story of Capitola coast’s Sand and Surf manufactured home land-lease community. Bill Newman was featured, an 86 year old resident who protested a 250 page lease and its terms at the risk of going from from $285 to $2,500 a month on his site fees. “I had the choice of knuckling under and trying to protect myself, or standing with the other residents and fighting,” said Newman, the grandson of an organizer of the 1892 Homestead Strike outside Pittsburgh. “I decided to fight.” The California city of Capitola has buckled under the $50,000 monthly legal costs and pressures of 10 years of litigation by Sand and Surf’s owner. Having weakened rent control in March 2011, the City Council is considering jettisoning it completely. “In a situation like this, where the city was being sued for $25 million, a loss could threaten the viability of the city,” says City Manager Jamie Goldstein. Rent-control backers say community owner Ron Reed has support statewide from MH community owners eager to break rent control in small cities. Reed’s Southern California law firm, Hart, King & Coldren, argue that rent control is a “taking” of the owner’s property, transferring money from landlord to tenants. “When the government imposes such onerous regulation in the name of advancing affordable housing, it is improperly imposing a burden on an individual property owner that should be borne by the community as a whole,” wrote HKC attorney Mark Alpert in describing one court finding. The report tipped the hat briefly to the issue that rent control keeps owners from reinvestment in their properties, but offered mainly laments sans solutions to the challenges which loom large in California and some other parts of the U.S..
(Photo credit of Bill Newman at Surf and Sand: MercuryNews)