The City Council approved the subdivision of an almost 40-acre mobile home park with the condition that the owners fix the park's drainage problems despite objections from park residents Monday night.
The council approved the project 5 to 2 with Mayor Pro-Tem Jill Hardy and Councilman Joe Carchio voting against.
The Huntington Shorecliffs Mobile Home Park at 20701 Beach Blvd. will divide its 304-space park into individual lots that can be purchased, or residents can continue renting, the applicants' lawyer, Robert Coldren, said.
"No resident is required to buy their lot," he said. "Once the subdivision occurs, they're free to remain a renter in this mobile home park until they pass away or move from the park."
Some residents called the subdivision "economic conviction," stating the subdivision will cause many of the park's residents to have to move.
"I am concerned that this conversion will cause economic displacement of the majority of us senior citizens currently residing in the park, most of whom are on limited fixed incomes," said Joan Walker, in a late communications letter to the council.
Coldren said that no resident will be evicted because of an inability to pay their rent increase.
The project was originally approved by the Planning Commission on March 9, but appealed by the applicants to remove the storm drain improvements. Through the meeting, Coldren and the park owners agreed to make the storm drain upgrades, despite Coldren's insistence that the condition wasn't allowed under state law.
Staff recommended the park owners also be responsible for a $1.7-million upgrade to add sidewalks to the portion of Beach Boulevard that borders the park, but council upheld the commission's denial of the upgrade.
The drainage improvement is estimated to cost about $600,000 — a cost residents are concerned will be passed on to them. Numerous residents spoke out about standing water and flooded streets, and several called the park a "swamp."
"I can't afford to be paying for it and I will be paying for it. . . . We didn't create the problem and we shouldn't be responsible for fixing the problem," said Madeline Seymour, a Shorecliffs resident.
A drainage pipe is currently emptying water from neighboring areas into the park, but that only accounts for less than half of the park's drainage problems. The standing water has left some residents with mold, mildew and some homes sinking into the muck, residents said.
The City Council also approved a construction contract that will make walking or riding to Spring View Middle School safer once a new traffic light goes in near the campus.
The council unanimously approved a $166,540 contract to Golden State Constructors, Inc to complete a Safe Routes to School project. Safe Routes to School is a program that provides grants to schools to improve the safety around a campus and make it easier for students to walk or ride to class.
The project updates sidewalks, street signs and markings and improves curb, or wheelchair, ramps to meet ADA requirements. The key element of the project is the installation of a traffic light at Heil Avenue and Trudy Lane.
The city applied for a grant from Safe Routes to School in April, and the project has already been authorized by the California Department of Transportation. The state allocated $306,900 for the grant in September 2009, and $34,100 from Measure M will cover the estimated $341,000 project.