September 7, 2008

Residents Facing Eviction

By Jennifer McLain

ROSEMEAD - Trailer park residents are fighting a property owner they say has plans to turn their homes into a parking lot little by little.

So far, three families living in mobile homes at Park Monterey, 7433 Garvey Ave., received a notice stating that they have one year to move out.

"Please take notice that effective

July 31, 2009, spaces 1A, 2A and 3A ... will no longer be used as spaces for the placement of mobile homes," the July 17 letter stated.

"The use of these spaces will be changed to a parking lot."

Residents believe property owner Hawaii Property Inc. and President Gerald Yang are slowly converting the 39-unit, 2.27-acre park into a commercial center.

Attorneys representing Yang did not return calls.

Hawaii owns properties adjacent to the park, which were approved for development in January, city officials said.

While Yang recently has put together a relocation plan for the park, residents said Yang last year tried to evict them without any sort of compensation.

"At the beginning, the owners said that we didn't have any rights," said Gilbert Ramirez, a resident of Park Monterey.

He wants Yang to follow the proper procedures for relocating residents, he said.

"We will move out; just respect our rights and give us justice," he said.

According to city officials and the letter presented to the residents, the property owner is adhering to the state's requirement of developing an adequate replacement housing and relocation plan.

"We presented this to our attorneys, and it was determined that the notices that were filed all are in accordance with what state law requires," said Rosemead City Manager Oliver Chi.

While residents are calling on the city for help, Chi said that there is little the city can do because it is not the oversight agency.

"Our authority over the matter is

relatively limited," Chi said.

So far, only three of the residents have been given the relocation plan, with Hawaii Property offering up $8,000 in relocation costs, as well as

up to $750 more if residents move out by Oct. 31.

Hawaii Property also would agree to purchase any mobile home at the fair market value.

The report recommends residents find apartments in the area. But if

living in a mobile home is preferred, locations such as Hemet are suggested.

The plan is fair, the owners wrote.

"Under this relocation plan, the owner proposes to pay significantly more" than required by the state, according to the letter submitted to

the residents.

Even so, residents of the park hired an attorney who works with the Eviction Defense Network to fight the proposed relocation plan, which residents claimed has been pursued with intimidation.

Last month, residents of the park spoke before the City Council, asking for its help.

"We have kids in the park, people that are 91 years old. We have Americans, Hispanics, Chinese. We have

people that are living on Social Security. We won't have anywhere to go if they take our homes away," Ramirez said.

While Yang owns several adjacent parcels to the park that have been slated for a retail and commercial development project, the first phase of the project does not incorporate the mobile home park, Chi said.

The city the past year has been confronted with several proposed changes for the 12 mobile home parks it contains.

In response to the number of changes, the city prepared a relocation plan for trailer park residents. The

plan is now awaiting approval from the state, Chi said.

"We have a number of trailer parks, and we've already seen a number of owners change the use," Chi said.

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