San Jose City Council approves protections for mobile home parks

City creates new property class and sets the redevelopment bar “extremely high”

San Jose Approves Protections for Mobile Home Parks

A photo illustration of San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan (Getty)

San Jose, which has more mobile home parks than any city in the state, has made it harder for builders to redevelop them into condominiums, apartments and other uses.

The City Council has unanimously approved additional protections for one of the region’s last bastions of affordable housing — mobile home parks, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The decision will make it difficult for developers to convert 13 of San Jose’s mobile home parks, now placed in a new land-use category requiring prospective developers to submit a general plan amendment on top of a council vote. 

The city’s eventual goal is to place nearly all of San Jose’s 60 parks in this category, according to the newspaper.

“I think this is a clear statement of intent from the council that these should remain mobile home parks,” Mayor Matt Mahan said. “And should a developer propose redevelopment, the bar would have to be extremely high.”

Residents in mobile homes have worried for years about bulldozers and builders turning their pads into apartments as the city pushes to add homes during an affordability crisis.

While such homeowners own their homes made offsite, they lease the land they sit on.

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Some 35,000 San Jose residents live in mobile home parks, many of whom are low-income seniors in homes that now cost between $350,000 to $400,000, offering a middle ground between renting and buying a single-family home. 

There are around 11,000 mobile homes in San Jose, more than in any other California city.

Residents at the Winchester Ranch Senior Mobile Home Park had battled developers who sought to convert their community into luxury condominiums. The residents ended up striking a deal guaranteeing them an apartment at the new development.

But when the senior mobile home park was razed in 2021, some seniors found they didn’t  qualify for the replacement housing, according to the San Jose Spotlight.

In 2017, the City Council became the sole decision-making body on any conversions of mobile home parks.

In September of last year, a group led by Kenneth Miller, an Aptos-based real estate investor and founder of two robotics firms, leased the land beneath the Silicon Valley Village Mobile Home Park in South San Jose. A deal ensured it would remain a park, and that 1,600 residents wouldn’t face evictions.

— Dana Bartholomew

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