Luxury housing set to replace trailer park
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.
The Sunset Colony Mobile Home Park off Southwest 27th Avenue is slated to close in the summer of 2019.
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.