OXNARD : Field Eliminated as Trailer Camp Site

The Oxnard City Council on Tuesday dealt a setback to residents seeking escape from a run-down and dangerous trailer camp, adopting relocation guidelines that all but eliminate a south Oxnard strawberry field from consideration as a new mobile home park.

The council last month tentatively agreed to relocate residents of the Oxnard Mobilehome Lodge to a new park on 21 unincorporated acres near Olds Road.

But after receiving complaints from residents of the adjacent Tierra Vista neighborhood, a majority of council members said they no longer supported the move.

The council on Tuesday formally established guidelines for relocation of the trailer camp, including requirements that potential sites be a maximum of 20 acres and that they be compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.

Because those guidelines in effect eliminate the Olds Road site, the council agreed to establish a committee to look for new sites. It will take several weeks just to form the committee.

"The residents of the Mobilehome Lodge really don't care what neighborhood they live in, they just want a decent park," said Marco Antonio Abarca, a farm worker attorney who is representing the camp's residents. "What I fear is that it is going to be bounced around from neighborhood to neighborhood to neighborhood, with each neighborhood deciding they don't want the park."

The 140-unit trailer camp is crammed onto five acres behind a Commercial Avenue industrial strip. More than 1,100 farm workers and their families live in the cramped community of aging and broken-down trailers.

Although housing conditions there generally are acknowledged as among the worst in Ventura County, the park owner recently asked the city's rent review board to hike the rent $5 a month. The request was denied but the owner appealed the decision, requiring park residents to put up half the $2,500 cost for a mediator to hear the appeal.

Despite a request by Abarca to waive that cost, the council decided Tuesday that park residents would have to pay their half of the appeal as required by city ordinance. The residents will get their money back if they prevail.

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