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Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Bay Area’

Mobile Home Explosion in a Manufactured Home Community Caught on Camera

March 20th, 2018 Comments off

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An explosion at what appeared to be a pre-HUD Code mobile home located in a manufactured home community was caught on a police dash camera.

 

The explosion occurred at the Cypress Mobile Home Park, in Cypress CA, near Los Angeles.

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Police not only caught the incident on camera, but first responders also save an occupant of that home.

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It was very dark smoke coming out of every window at this point,” said Officer Melissa Grove from the Cypress Police Department, per KABC.  Three different versions of the video are posted below.

 

Neighbors said one man had already been burned, while another was alongside the home attempting to douse the flames. With the fire burning out of control – heroically – officers went in to get him out.

We pulled him. He was hanging on to something very tightly, and that broke, and we got him out right before it blasts,” Grove said.

It was really shocking, especially when you’re not expecting it,” said Officer Ed Pastor from the Cypress Police Department.

 

Orange County firefighters said it was oxygen tanks inside the dwelling that caused the explosion. Firefighters were able to douse the flames before they spread to any other neighboring homes.

 

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The Take Aways

Industry professionals have numerous possible lessons to learn from this story.

  • The local media’s report appears to be accurate in saying that the residence involved was a true ‘mobile home,’ meaning a unit built before the HUD Code for manufactured housing went into effect.
  • The neighboring homes appear to have been manufactured homes, as dash cam video seems to indicate.
  • As MHLivingNews and MHProNews have often reported, true mobile homes or even older trailer houses are more susceptible to fire than manufactured homes, which are perhaps a bit safer against fire than conventional housing, according to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) research.

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Avoidable Tragedies! Mobile Home Fires vs. Manufactured Home, and Conventional Housing

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Victory for Residents or Erosion of Rights? A City Takes Action

May 22nd, 2017 Comments off
VictoryforResidentsorErosionofRightsCityTakesActioncreditKQED-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

The Winchester Ranch community in San Jose, CA. Credit: KQED.

In California, the San Francisco Bay Area is known as a technology hub and a center of activism. In the city of San Jose, the city council made a move last week that could make it known for something else.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the council voted 10-1 against a staff-recommended “closure” policy that would have weakened resident protections for manufactured housing community closures and have a significant impact on affordable housing in the Silicon Valley.

We won a big fight,” said manufactured home community resident Davyln Jones, who also sits on the city’s Housing and Community Development Commission.

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Councilman Johnny Khamis. Official photo.

This says it’s not OK to yank the land out from underneath people who spent their life savings purchasing the homes.”

Councilman Johnny Khamis, who was the lone dissenting vote, expressed concern that the message being sent could have unintended consequences.

San Jose is punishing property owners,” said Khamis.

It punished landlords when it passed sweeping renter protections last week.”

With the vote, manufactured home community owners who want to close properties, then sell or redevelopment them, must now follow steps outlined in a “conversion policy.” This policy includes paying relocation benefits, offering to purchase a home at its current value, and negotiating with the manufactured home community’s residents’ association.

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Margaret Nanda. Credit: Hopkins & Carley.

Attorney Margaret Nanda echoed Khamis’ comments, and also pointed out another factor.

San Jose’s housing crisis wasn’t caused by mobile home park [sic]owners,” said Nanda.

The policy is an erosion of property rights.”

 

Local housing advocates said that the proposed policy was troublesome because it had a loophole – it allowed a property owner to say that they were closing a community, meaning they would allegedly not have to pay as much in relocation benefits or draw as much attention, and then simply sit on the land and redevelop it at a later time. The policy also did not require a community closure to be approved by the city council.

Advocates say that this would provide residents with fewer safeguards.

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Mayor Sam Liccardo. Official Photo.

San Jose is home to nearly 11,000 mobile homes [sic] in 59 parks [sic], the largest number of any city in the state,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

And, they’re viewed as one of the last affordable housing options in San Jose.”

Mayor Liccardo also recommended the exploration of creating a new land use designation just for manufactured home communities to bolster preservation. Such a designation would allow the city to set specific policies for, and control, how land is converted for other uses.

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Credit: Google.

The origins of the actions by the council last week date back to 2015, when the owners of Winchester Ranch Mobile Home Park informed residents they were planning to close to sell the land to a developer to build new apartments and a hotel.

The city blocked Winchester Ranch’s closure by adopting an emergency ban, and the community owners sued the city, but later dropped the lawsuit.

 

MH Industry Perspectives On Like Issues 

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Credit: NBC.

As scenarios like the one in San Jose continue to play out in the U.S. and Canada, the thoughts shared by ROC USA President Paul Bradley are relevant.

How can we promote homeownership and sell new homes on leased land and at the same time close communities?” Bradley questioned.

It’s like selling tickets to a zoo where ‘only 1 in a 100 are eaten by the lions!’”

One way to address this is to segment true homeownership land lease communities and differentiate it from traditional ‘parks’ where closure remains a risk, not a certainty but a risk.

For the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association’s Jay Hamilton, he sees things differently.

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Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

One of the biggest reasons that a Manufactured Home Community Owner sells his property is that over time property taxes increase four and five-fold.  But the owner can’t economically escalate the lot rent quick enough to keep up.  Or the resident could not afford to live there if they did,” said Hamilton.

As communities become surrounded and engulfed by restaurants, Hilton Hotels, stadiums, big box stores, airports, residential and commercial developments – property taxes begin exceeding the total revenue from renting spaces.” ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

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Respect Demanded: MHC Residents, Families, Speak Out

April 24th, 2017 Comments off
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A home in the Vineyard Estates community. Credit: Realtor.

In California, the San Francisco Bay Area remains one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S., with some one-bedroom apartments running well over $3,000 per month.

In the city of Pleasanton, an affluent enclave, the Vineyard Estates 55 and over manufactured home community remains one of the few affordable housing options left in the area.

What started with one letter to the editor calling a real home “one that is firmly attached to the ground,” turned into two very strong endorsements for the community, and the quality of modern manufactured housing.

My definition of a home goes more along the lines of the old proverb, ‘Home is where the heart is,” wrote Susan Reid, whose parents live in the Vineyard Estates community.

Vineyard Estates has a definite heart in Pleasanton. Taking a drive through this safe, friendly senior community, it is easy to see the feeling of home. While these are not stick-and-brick dwellings, these mobile homes [sic] allow many seniors the opportunity to enjoy living in Pleasanton.”

Reid also shared the importance of independence for the community’s senior residents, and that the “old stereotypes” are just that.

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Credit: Google.

Neighbors care about neighbors; there is always a smile and a wave by those passing by, either on dog-walks or golf cart rides. The grounds are well maintained. There are activities to be enjoyed each day. Vineyards Estates is serviced by public transit, allowing seniors, my parents included, to be more mobile.

These units are safe and affordable; much more so than some other senior units in Pleasanton. ‘Home’ is an emotional word. Vineyard Estates allows many seniors an affordable place in which to live near loved ones. So, sir, do not denigrate the community as ‘being overpriced shacks’ and ‘crumbling carcasses.”

Ralph Mele, a resident at Vineyard Estates, also shared his feelings.

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Another home in the Vineyard Estates community. Credit: Redfin.

I have lived in Vineyard Estates for four years and bought a new manufactured home in 2013. After living in several very nice custom houses, I found to my surprise the manufactured house I purchased was every bit as nice and well constructed as the custom house I owned. In fact, it is built to very high standards sometimes not found in custom houses. The standards for a manufactured house are set by law, and each factory that builds these units must adhere to the rules, or is not able to sell their houses,” said Mele.

These manufactured houses vary in size from 1,000 to 1,800 square feet and feature granite countertops, wood flooring, fireplaces and laundry rooms, many have three bedrooms and two baths. They are affordable and offer seniors a safe and comfortable environment to live in. You cannot find a new house in Pleasanton for the price you pay for the manufactured houses available in Vineyard Estates.”

As Daily Business News readers are already well aware, even though those old stereotypes persist, but many in the industry are working to set the record straight.LindseyBostick-SunshineHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Today’s manufactured homes can look and live like a conventional, site-built house, and can be half the price of new constructionAdditionally, many manufactured homes are Energy Star rated, so they are more efficient than older, existing homes,” said Lindsey Bostick of Sunshine Homes.

Many desire to move from renting to owning, but often struggle to find that a real possibility in the current site-built market. The manufactured housing industry can offer a solution to that problem.”

For a more detailed history on the journey from mobile to manufactured homes, please click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

MHC Gets Reprieve – But for How Long?

February 13th, 2017 Comments off
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The Blue Bonnet Mobile Home Park. Credit: Flickr.

In California, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the state. Some one-bedroom apartments in downtown San Francisco can start at $4000 per month.

South of San Francisco, in the city of Sunnyvale, one of the last affordable housing havens in the area is in trouble.

Blue Bonnet Mobile Home Park is surrounded by newer, more expensive townhomes and apartments, and, according to the Mercury News, last February residents were notified that the community would be converted into a residential development.

A company called East Dunne Investors LLC, based out of nearby Morgan Hill, submitted a preliminary review application with the city detailing plans for 60 three-story townhomes.

This news left residents of Blue Bonnet nervous and unsure of their place in the Santa Clara Valley.

I feel like I’m being kicked in the gut and thrown out in the street,” said Alfonso Gonales, who has lived in the community with his wife Silvia for 10 years.

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Alfonso Gonzales, with his wife Silvia. Credit: Mercury News.

The Sunnyvale City Council was set to review the application on January 24th, but an attorney for a number of Blue Bonnet residents told the council that they had not been given sufficient time to review a conversion impact report for the park. The report is required by the city before a manufactured home community closes, and it lays out how the former residents will be compensated for their homes and assisted in finding new places to live.

Gonzales and fellow Blue Bonnet residents have been given an extra month to review the report.

Should the council approve the report, residents would receive the monetary assistance amounts proposed in the report, then the property owner would be able to close the community.

A report from the city of Sunnyvale shows that Blue Bonnet and nearby Aloha Mobile Village are the only two manufactured home communities in the city that have residential and not “manufactured home exclusive” zoning. This means that they can be converted more easily than other communities.

City documents show that the average relocation assistance for manufactured home owners is $127,994, which includes a rent subsidy, moving costs, first and last deposit and the value of their home. For residents who rent their homes, the total would be $30,778.

We’re invested in these,” said homeowner Mary Lou Clark. “We’re not in apartments; we own these homes and we are losing our investments and the potential to do better.”

They have a right to sell, but give us adequate compensation,” said Gonzales.

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Sunnyvale, shaded in red. Credit: Google.

In the hyper expensive San Francisco Bay Area, Blue Bonnet residents say that they are concerned that they won’t be able purchase another manufactured home anywhere in the area, and may be forced out of the area entirely.

I am a real estate professional and own my own property management company in Cupertino, and after much research, I found only 45 active listings in Sunnyvale for mobile homes. Only two are under $100,000, which is what a majority of the families were offered,” said Natalie Swarkis, daughter of Blue Bonnet resident Vincent Swarkis, during the recent council meeting.

Many of the residents are on fixed incomes and would not qualify for apartments that might require three times the amount of monthly rent needed to sign a lease.

Public records obtained by the Mercury News show that Sue Chuang purchased Blue Bonnet in 2005. While she is still listed as the owner, East Dunne Investors LLC is in the process of purchasing the property according to the conversion impact report.

Last November, the city’s housing and human services committee voted that the conversion impact report was inadequate and requested a more detailed description of how the relocation assistance described in the report “will ensure that all residents will be able to obtain adequate housing.” ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews