By Allison Jarrell
After listening to the concerns of distressed senior citizens living in the city’s mobile home parks, the San Juan Capistrano City Council unanimously agreed to continue halting mobile home park owners’ attempts to convert their senior parks to all-age residents.
The Council voted 5-0 on April 4 to add six more months to a temporary moratorium on the conversion of any seniors-only mobile home parks to all-age parks, giving staff time to draft an ordinance amending the city’s current regulations regarding seniors-only parks.
Currently, the city does not have land use regulations that prohibit the conversion of seniors-only parks, so the amended ordinance would establish permanent zoning for seniors-only mobile home parks.
The issue first came to the city’s attention when senior citizens living in El Nido Mobile Estates and Rancho Alipaz mobile home park—two of the city’s four seniors-only parks—began receiving notices from the parks’ owners regarding converting the parks to all-ages.
For El Nido residents, the notices were the latest chapter in an ongoing fight with park management over rent control. Park owner Richard Worley is currently suing the city over its rejection of his second request to raise rent in two years’ time.
After hearing the residents’ concerns, the Council adopted an urgency ordinance on Feb. 21 that imposed a 45-day moratorium on the conversion of seniors-only mobile home parks within the city. That temporary moratorium was set to expire on April 7.
City staff said the urgency ordinance “was based upon concerns that changing seniors-only mobile home parks to all-age communities would unduly burden and irreparably harm senior citizens within the community.”
The newly approved moratorium will last through September, but staff said the new ordinance could go into effect as early as July 20, following Planning Commission and Council review in May and June.