Lux­ury hous­ing set to re­place trailer park

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Local - By Brit­tany Wall­man

A mo­bile home com­mu­nity be­hind Wal­mart will be closed next sum­mer and its res­i­dents re­moved to make way for a lux­ury hous­ing com­plex.

The Sun­set Colony Mo­bile Home Park, a com­mu­nity of 110 man­u­fac­tured homes off River­land Road / South­west 27th Av­enue and Broward Boule­vard, west of In­ter­state 95, is the lat­est to be slated for re­moval to make way for higher-end hous­ing.

The 11-acre neigh­bor­hood is be­hind a a rel­a­tively new Wal­mart Su­per­center. Fort Laud­erdale city com­mis­sion­ers sealed the park’s fate Tues­day night, unan­i­mously vot­ing to re­zone it to al­low higher-den­sity res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment. A de­vel­oper plans 276 lux­ury res­i­den­tial units.

Over the past decade, large tracts of va­cant land in South Flor­ida be­came scarce, and mo­bile home parks have been tar­geted by de­vel­op­ers.

“This change con­tin­ues to be stim­u­lated by in­creas­ing land values and sev­eral sea­sons of strong hur­ri­cane ac­tiv­ity,” a re­port by the real es­tate con­sul­tant the Ur­ban Group said.

Robert Lochrie, lawyer­lob­by­ist for the de­vel­oper, told the city’s Plan­ning and Zon­ing Board in Septem­ber that most of the mo­bile homes at Sun­set Colony have been pur­chased by the park owner, and the res­i­dents pay rent month to month. Many of the homes are old and can’t be moved, he said.

At the park this week, the streets were empty but for an oc­ca­sional res­i­dent walk­ing to or from the com­mu­nity. Signs of the hol­i­day were present: The of­fice door was dec­o­rated with a wreath; dec­o­ra­tive lights adorned mo­bile homes. Some were empty and boarded, but most had signs of com­mu­nity: an Amer­i­can flag, chil­dren’s toys, an ice­cream truck, an air­boat, a stream­ing out­door foun­tain.

Res­i­dents of Sun­set Colony ex­pressed con­cern at the Septem­ber pub­lic hear­ing about be­ing up­rooted. Some said their chil­dren at­tend nearby schools, and they feared be­ing ousted from their homes on short no­tice.

Lochrie said the ten­ants will be given at least four months to move out, and he said the park owner has of­fered to help peo­ple re­lo­cate.

“The park own­ers have reached out to the ten­ants and let them know that the park will be clos­ing next

sum­mer af­ter the school year has ended,” Lochrie said in an email.

Com­mis­sioner Robert McKinzie said Tues­day that Fort Laud­erdale po­lice were host­ing a Thanks­giv­ing din­ner for the mo­bile home park to make sure “each and ev­ery one of them gets a meal.”

The com­mu­nity, at 400 SW 27th Ave., is on land zoned for a mo­bile home park. With the new zon­ing, the Mor­gan Group Inc. plans six build­ings up to four sto­ries tall, around a lake. Mor­gan Group has the land un­der con­tract to buy it from the owner, Clark­sonBergman Fam­ily Part­ner­ship, ac­cord­ing to city records.

Fort Laud­erdale de­vel­op­ment staff rec­om­mended ap­proval of the re­zon­ing Tues­day, say­ing in a memo that the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment is com­pat­i­ble with what’s around it.

State law of­fers some pro­tec­tion to peo­ple liv­ing in mo­bile homes, and com­pen­sa­tion for those dis­placed. Un­der state law, be­fore tak­ing an ac­tion that would re­sult in the re­moval or re­lo­ca­tion of mo­bile home own­ers, the city had to de­ter­mine that ad­e­quate hous­ing ex­ists for the res­i­dents some­where else in the re­gion.

The Ur­ban Group con­cluded that there is suf­fi­cient hous­ing. Ur­ban Group’s July study found there are 413 va­cant mo­bile home sites in South Flor­ida. In ad­di­tion, there are 21 mo­bile homes for rent in the range from $957 per month to $1,895.

Low-in­come, sub­si­dized hous­ing is harder to come by, the study noted. Most have wait­ing lists.

“It would be in the mo­bile home own­ers best in­ter­est to reg­is­ter with their lo­cal hous­ing au­thor­i­ties and ap­ply to get on wait­ing lists as soon as pos­si­ble,” the re­port says.

BRIT­TANY WALL­MAN/SUN SEN­TINEL

The Sun­set Colony Mo­bile Home Park off South­west 27th Av­enue is slated to close in the sum­mer of 2019.

BRIT­TANY WALL­MAN/SUN SEN­TINEL

The Sun­set Colony Mo­bile Home Park off South­west 27th Av­enue is slated to close in the sum­mer of 2019. A de­vel­oper pro­poses build­ing 276 lux­ury res­i­den­tial units there.

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