A moratorium to stop the development of mobile home park facilities will reach the City Council next year | Techy Kings

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The proposed moratorium would prevent any land development plans from being proposed or implemented in the park areas. If approved, the moratorium would last until 2024. in April

Mobile home park in 2022  March 2

Kevin J. Beaty / The Denverite

Efforts to save mobile home parks in Denver are expected to go before the City Council in 2023. at the beginning

On Tuesday, the Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a moratorium to halt development on the parks property, giving city officials a chance to create new park regulations.

Mobile home parks are an affordable housing option for both renting and owning a home. Residents often own their own apartments and rent the land on which the unit is located.

However, in recent years, this lifestyle has put residents at greater risk of displacement, as a developer can acquire the land at any time and increase the rent or change the land’s use. Residents can’t just pick up their apartments and move, so they’re forced to pay higher rents or sell.

Mobile home park in Athmar Park.  in 2022  March 2
Kevin J. Beaty / The Denverite

Denver has five mobile home parks in operation: two in Elyria-Swansea and the others in Westwood, Athmar Park and College View/South Platte.

Housing advocates have repeatedly argued that, given the need for affordable housing in Colorado and Denver, preserving what is already affordable must be as important as building new housing.

But in Denver, it can be especially difficult to preserve mobile home parks because mobile home parks are largely prohibited in the city.

According to Denver’s zoning laws, new mobile home parks have not been allowed in the city since 1956. Existing parks have been allowed to continue operating, but cannot expand or add additional units to the site. Existing units can be serviced and repaired, but can only be replaced with units of “substantially similar design and size”.

Councilman Jamie Torres said current zoning laws put parks at a standstill, allowing them to be acquired predatorily. Torres, along with Council members Candi CdeBaca and Jolon Clark, created a task force to figure out short-term solutions that would allow the council to focus on preserving existing parks and developing long-term solutions.

Mobile home park in Athmar Park.  in 2022  March 2
Kevin J. Beaty / The Denverite

“The moratorium was one way to create some breathing room so that we knew the parks weren’t going to be flipped or redeveloped while we tried to figure out what the future policy should look like,” Torres said. “We don’t want to keep mobile home parks in that predatory housing space.” We want them to be an asset to residents, and we need to create a system that allows that to happen.

The proposed moratorium would prevent development plans from being proposed or implemented on mobile home park sites. If approved, the moratorium would last until 2024. in April

Torres said the moratorium is an important piece of the short-term puzzle.

The group is also working on an amendment to the text that would allow residents to renovate or replace existing housing. Torres said the zoning law currently considers replacing or renovating blocks as park expansion, which is illegal. She added that some residents have been living in the same units for more than 10 years.

Torres said she hopes to have both pieces before the city council in 2023. at the beginning While the moratorium is in place, Torres said the group will look for some long-term solutions, such as mobile home district zoning or individual zoning. for each park to save them.

Mobile home park in Athmar Park.  in 2022  March 2
Kevin J. Beaty / The Denverite

At the state level, lawmakers are looking for ways to protect park residents. Some of the main 2019 Among the components of the Mobile Home Park Law, which was passed and revised this year, is a requirement that park owners give residents at least 90 days notice if they intend to sell or transfer the park to a new owner. and give notice no later than 12 months in advance, if the owner intends to change the purpose of land use.

This gives residents the opportunity to purchase land themselves. The law also created the “Mobile Home Park Act Dispute Resolution and Enforcement Program,” which created a database of mobile home parks in operation, their owners, and whether violations had been reported.

Torres said the ultimate goal would be for residents to buy the land themselves. The park in Torres District 3 is currently for sale, and residents are trying to purchase the lot and create a Resident Owned Community, or ROC, with the help of private nonprofit Thistle, which focuses on continued affordable rent and pricing. House.

ROC USA is also a non-profit organization that helps turn mobile home parks into resident-owned land. The park becoming an ROC would essentially create a co-op housing model.

Mobile home park in Athmar Park.  in 2022  March 2
Kevin J. Beaty / The Denverite

Other organizations, such as the Elevated Land Trust and 9to5 Colorado, are also looking for ways to help residents acquire land to ultimately keep parks affordable and accessible.

“This road that we’re building would allow residents to have their own park, their own land, which is a desirable outcome,” Torres said. “I think there are innovative ways for people to reimagine what a mobile home park looks like while maintaining the affordability and accessibility that families have always offered.”

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