Speak Out For Coral Lake MHP
Send Us Your Comments
If you own a mobile or manufactured home and rent the land within the boundaries of the city of Coconut Creek, your home is at risk. Let your voice be heard all the way down at city hall. Use the feedback link below and we will publish your letter online.
If you wish to submit your story to this site, please feel free to do so. You do not have to be a mobile or manufactured home owner, however, mobile home eviction for change of land use is our main focus at this time. If you feel that your rights have been trampled, you can contact us below. Your name will not be used if you request. Please remember, any email that uses profane or vulgar language will be ignored!
Re: Kangaroo Court
It is important to understand the nature of the Kangaroo Court we will all be facing at the rezoning hearing.
The Commissioners of the Coconut Creek Planning and Zoning Advisory Board are unpaid volunteers appointed by the Coconut Creek City Commissioners.
Their mandate is to examine only the facts set before them. They do not independently seek out the truth. For example, they will have the Planning Department's word The Urban Group's Relocation Report is verified and accurate with perhaps the summery before them. The board will not spend one minute with an adding machine and phone checking the facts, nor will they attempt to verify our pointing out the failure to find parks or suitable facilities for our relocation. They may even say this isn't their concern as they don't do the actual rezoning, it's for the City Commissioners to deal with.
They do not rezone property. They determine whether the rezoning proposal is worthy of the City Commissioners' consideration and pass their recommendations on to the City Commissioners who decide.
A no vote by the Planning and Zoning board may not necessarily make rezoning by the City Commission impossible, though this is the usual result.
At the rezoning hearing we will attend, the board will have research and support materials provided by the Planning and Development Department, the Park Owner and the Re-Developer.
The only thing they will have from us are the words we can speak in 3 minutes like a quiz show. You have 3 minutes to save your home starting . . . now!
At the previous meeting a 50 page report was submitted by Aaron Vantrease, a park resident. The board never saw it until the actual meeting with no opportunity to review it.
The Planning and Zoning board member (Steven Tornari) who questioned whether The Urban Group would provide financial assistance besides their information chatter, is no longer on the board.
To appeal the decision of the Planning and Zoning board one must have a verbatim copy of the meeting made. The city will not do this even for money. You must hire your own court reporter to record the meeting. Who does the appeal go to? Incredibly, it goes to the City Commissioners !!!
The only strategy is solidarity, filling the room, signing up
to speak whether you intend to or not (so you can pass your
3 minutes to a longer speaker). Letting them know you want to stay
here, there is no where else as nice to go and the money isn't near
enough to make a difference.
Re: Crazy Nation (suggested title was, Mass Eviction)
In what crazy place can a man sell you a house on his land and then, with the local government's blessing, sell the land to a developer and give you six months to take your house and get out or you'll be evicted, maybe convicted for trespassing and your house bulldozed?
What Third World pest hole is this place where they can destroy your home without fair compensation? Why, it's Coconut Creek in Florida, if you're a manufactured home owner. Tell city hall you want the mobile home parks added to their comprehensive plan as protected affordable housing.
Robert Perkis / Coconut Creek / Letters to the Editor Sun-Sentinel Sunday 05/15/2005
Re: Opposing Opinion: Why Coral Lake Should Not be Rezoned
(1). At least 180 low income families will be displaced in a county that already has an affordable housing crisis. This crisis has been well documented by area newspapers, T.V. media, Broward County and even the federal government. Anyone who argues plenty of affordable housing is readily available for displaced residents is either woefully ignorant of the facts or attempting to deceive the public, unless they are just plain stupid.
(2). This rezoning is economic discrimination. The low income residents have few resources to hire legal counsel. The owner, developer and city all have an attorney and deep financial resources. This situation is an uneven playing field at the very least. I believe Coconut Creek just wants to get rid of lower income residents. Excuse us for messing up your Tax base.
(3). There is a sequence of events that raises ethical questions. Coconut Creek decided to lift it's building moratorium. They start planning the Towne Center across from Coral Lake. A team of code enforcement officers come in. Fines are assessed. The city decides the deficiencies are "corrected" in August 2004 and stop imposing new fines after the owner "decides" to sell the park. Less than a week after the city places the lien, we get certified letters telling us the property is being petitioned for rezoning. Do you really expect us to believe this sequence of events is all just a coincidence? If all of this isn't technically illegal, it certainly raises some ethical issues.
(4). The replacement housing study The Urban Group submitted to the city on April 12th is ludicrous. In listing vacant lots for us to relocate to in Broward County, they listed lots in at least two parks that are closing. Didn't anyone wonder why Sunset Colony has a 37% vacancy rate? It was rezoned last fall by Fort Lauderdale and is in the process of closing. Everglades Lakes' supposed 637 vacant lots is a misprint included in the count. Everglades Lakes has no lots available, to move your home there you must buy an pre-existing older home and replace it with yours. Aztec Estates the park with the most lots available in Broward (167) their manager says they only take homes built after 1995, that leaves 99% of Coral Lake out.
Palma Nova Park Community read what the city of Davie/United Way study has to say about the only park willing to take older homes. Would you want to live here?
The most ridiculous part is The Urban Group listed ten vacant lots in Coral Lake (our own park) among their spots available for relocation. As if we can relocate to spaces within our own park if our park closes?
Even if parks have empty lots, it doesn't mean they are available to us to move our homes to. Half of the parks in Broward county are 55+, ninety percent of homes in our community have children or people under 55. For all practical purposes, vacancies in the 55+ parks are useless to our families. We have maybe a dozen of our senior residents that could go to 55+ parks if their homes would be welcome there. So that basically eliminates virtually all the spots counted in the age restricted parks.
That leaves family parks in Broward county. One of my neighbors has already called fifteen out of the eighteen family parks listed. None of them were willing to take a manufactured home more then five years old. There is only one home in Coral Lake that is a 2000 model or newer. Maybe one out of 180 homes can qualify to move to a park Coconut Creek residents would feel comfortable in. Where does that leave the rest of us?
Their conclusion that "there are more than sufficient sites for relocation of all 184 households" is therefore absurd. I would even call it possibly misleading and deceptive. Is The Urban Group willing to defend this "relocation plan" in court?
In regards to all the subsidized housing available in Broward County, The Urban Group failed to mention most of them having waiting lists of six months to over two years. Their own chart of subsidized housing (Exhibit 2) states less then half of these are rent supplemented. If someone wants more documentation on the lack of available affordable rental housing, the Broward County Division of Affordable Housing can verify this.
(5) The market for luxury condos may be weakening. The Sun-Sentinel and several real estate publications warn the market may soon be flooded with higher priced condos. If the developer does build these units, they may get stuck with them. At least half of the condos under construction now are being purchased on speculation by investors planning on selling at a profit without taking possession. When the investors see they can't make their expected profit on resale, they won't buy these overpriced units anymore.
(6). There are some viable alternatives. The park owner could sell to someone commited to maintaining the park and getting rid of unsafe older units. The park could be sold to the homeowners as a co-op or as individual lots. It could then be run like a regular subdivision with a homeowner's association. There are several law firms in the state that specializes in these conversions.
If Coral Lake were divided into two hundred lots, each individual lot would sell for about $55,000. at current market rates. That would create $11 million in taxable residential property. A manufactured home developer could make a decent profit selling the lots with new manufactured homes.
(7). If the rezoning does go through, it would financially devastate low income families who are already struggling. Many people would have to walk away from homes they still owe mortgages on. A lot of other residents I have talked to say their only option would be to file bankruptcy. Other people may become desperate and leap into financial obligations they can't afford.
(8). Coral Lake can set a precedent for what happens to other mobile home parks or low income housing. if the city and developer win this battle, it would encourage the elimination of other manufactured home parks in Coconut Creek and other cities. Anyone living in manufactured home parks where you rent a lot is at risk. Although it may be us today, it could be you tomorrow! If this rezoning is successfully blocked or delayed, other cities may think twice about rezoning their parks or low income areas out of existence.
(9). This situation is giving the city of Coconut Creek bad publicity. This makes the city and developer appear uncompassionate and cold (or aren't they). There is more to running a city then the tax base. If they haven't figured that out, they shouldn't be in office.
(10). There are still other issues that can be legally challenged. Some of us can read the state statutes and use West Law References. Sorry, I'm not going to give away any of our future legal strategies, we'll save some of the surprise!
Respectfully submitted Janice Ellery Posted May 7, 2005
Re: e-letter sent 05/01/2005
to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
I wish to file a 1503 complaint with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for Mass Eviction. Article (11)(1)?
We are a community of approximately 237 families now down to roughly 180 who own their mobile homes and lease the land at the Coral Lake Mobile Home Community in Coconut Creek, Florida, U.S.A. 33073 (4701 Lyons Road)
We are all facing a mass eviction for Change of Land Use by the property owner. The State of Florida makes property rights paramount over the rights of mobile home owners who have been leasing the land as their home site for up to thirty years.
What makes this different from the usual, is the city of Coconut Creek used false code enforcement fines to make up more then half the fines/liens used to threaten the property owner with foreclosure to extort him to sell his land to one of the many developers the city sent to solicit him.
The city conducted the fine business in secret from the community not allowing us to protest the fines.
The city has been told several times the fines are false and have been provided with copies of the law and copies of the Florida State Attorney General's opinion the fines cannot exit, yet they continue as if what we say has no meaning to them.
The contract with the developer is dependent on the land being rezoned from MH1 (mobile homes) to PUD by the city Commissioners. When this occurs we will all be given a six month eviction notice. If we are not gone by the end of the six months, we will be forcibly evicted from the homes we own and hold title to by the sheriff's office.
The state of Florida requires the property owner pay into a State Relocation Fund to compensate us for . . .
$1,375. to abandon a single wide mobile home.
The abandonment amounts are roughly ten cents on the dollar for those with mortgages and/or equity in their homes.
The moving amount is half to a third the actual amount of the total cost of the move if the move is even allowed by those who issue permits for moving mobile homes and issue certificates of occupancy once the move is completed.
Most mobile homes of this age are are not moveable or look like they've been through an earthquake when moved.
Moving a double wide mobile home requires the entire contents of the home be moved into storage including appliances for roughly thirty days, then moved back.
The home is split in half and loaded onto trailers to be moved to the new site, much as a historic building is shown being moved on the news. All infrastructure such as carport, screen room, concrete driveway, steps, patio are lost and expensive to replace and are then taxed as "improvements" at the new location for the life of the current occupancy. The home owner must find food and board for roughly thirty days out of house waiting for installation, hook-ups, and certificate of occupancy.
All this is assuming the home doesn't fall apart on the way, isn't damaged, and all the walls and ceilings don't develop splits and cracks. Another problem is if the halves take a cant or lean so the house no longer goes back together. This is a big risk for people living on the economic edge of life with few resources.
These are not RV's or fishing trailers, they look and feel like houses of roughly 800 to 1,200 square feet. They will be missed if lost as any good home would be.
The city is supposed to verify there are places for us to move our homes or suitable facilities within a 50 mile radius of our current location. They have allowed the property owner to conduct this study and it is loaded with disconnects requiring leaps of faith for the summery to be supported by the facts.
For example, our own park is listed among those we can supposedly relocate to as is another park that is going through the same mass eviction process we are.
Three other parks in the city showing available slots in the report all say their slots are only for new home buyers, we suspect this will prove to be the case more often then not. A forth park in the city requires the homes be upgraded to new mobile home standards at a cost beyond their value.
The report says there are 22,000 affordable apartments yet cannot find 2 and 3 bedroom apartments until triple our rent is applied. It does not say where these places are to be found or if available. It suggests we "may" be eligible for assistance, but if that were the case most of us wouldn't be living in mobile homes.
This mass eviction of mobile home park residents who own their homes and lease the land is becoming a crisis across the United States as the value of land makes the property owner break their promise to the very people they invited onto their land and often sold the home to.
There is no serious protections for us and we need the world's help to keep our rights from being trampled.
Re: Spoken before the Coconut Creek City Commissioners 04/28/2005
Over the past couple of months I've sent each of you two letters providing incontrovertible proof the majority of the file liens against the Coral Lake property are not only mendacious, they've been applied to the wrong party.
As the fake fines were the basis for the city threatening the park owner with foreclosure and the threat of foreclosure resulted in, as Mr. Stuart said, the immediate sale of the property. And as the sale was to a developer among many sent by the city to solicit the park owner. In my opinion, the city's actions meet the legal definition of extortion. As I will lose my home as a result. In my opinion, I am a third party victim of extortion.
Attorney General Charlie Crist's office has been kind enough to provide me with a road map how to proceed.
First I must ask you to set things right, restore things as they were, to make us whole again. To this end I ask you to:
Drop all fines and liens against the Coral Lake property.
If the rezoning passes without a plan in place to fairly compensate home owners with mortgages and equity, I will file complaints with the Florida Commission on Ethics. I will also file a complaint with the Coconut Creek Police department and if the police won't accept the complaint or drag their feet, State Attorney Michael Satz's office will accept the complaint and open an investigation.
I will also seek legal assistance in determining whether the city's depth of involvement in making this deal happen is a flawed attempt to circumvent your eminent domain responsibilities, potentially entitling we home owners to roughly six million dollars for the replacement value of our homes and infrastructure.
I would prefer not to take these paths and will do so only if you leave us no other option, than financial ruin.
Re: Rezoning Hearing May 11th (postponed again) ?
At the city commission meeting March 24th it was remarked the
relocation report should be ready for the May 11th planning and
zoning meeting. If we lose the zoning we could be before the
city commission as early as May 12th or May 26th! The delay as
been due to the difficulty in putting together the relocation plan
as most residents have the good sense to hold off supplying the Urban
Group with the information they need to do us in before the park
is rezoned. Though the dates are tentative be ready to speak out
against this rezoning away of our homes.
Re: Why some of us do not want to meet with you.
You are asking us for personal and confidential financial information. Since you are working for the parties trying to get rid of us, you're not exactly on the top ten list of people we can trust.
The "advice" you are giving us is information we could get from the Apartment Guide book, a place like Rent Free or any mortgage broker. You are here at least in our opinion, to help the city, owner or developer to comply with 732.083. You are concerned with helping the rezoning, not our welfare.
The zoning board hasn't even voted again on this issue. It's like giving someone a funeral before they're dead.
Sorry TUG. We're not tugging at your offer.
Re: Mobile homes affordable housing
Your articles on affordable housing illustrate a process that is happening throughout South Florida.
Existing low-income neighborhoods and housing are being destroyed and replaced with expensive condos and retail stores. Not only do we need more new affordable housing, but we also have to stop eliminating existing low-income housing.
Mr. Joe Kocy, the assistant director of the Broward County Affordable Housing Division, stated cities need to "be willing to think outside the box."
I think the city of Coconut Creek should heed his advice. If the city rezones Coral Lakes Mobile Home Park, it will displace at least 800 low-income residents.
The federal government considers manufactured homes alternative affordable housing.
The city possibly used aggressive code enforcement to force the park owner to sell. The city placed a half-million-dollar lien on the mobile home park for unpaid fines. Several days after the lien was placed, the residents got a notice that a rezoning application had been filed. The city manager has already made many negative comments about mobile home parks. Since the city has a vested financial interest in this property, how can it be objective about the rezoning decision?
Does Broward County really need more high-priced condos? Coconut Creek also has a duty to its elderly and low-income residents. They need to stop their plans to eliminate the mobile home communities in the city.
Janice Ellery coconut creek Posted March 8 2005
Re: Alternatives if rezoning fails
What happens if we win and the park is not rezoned from MH1 to PUD. What can we offer the park owner to save our homes?
1. Offering to buy the park as a business: This means home owners with access to big loan money become the land lords of residents who can't buy their share, loaded with potential for civil war if even possible considering the value of the property at today's inflated prices.
2. Offering to buy the park as a co-operative: Again only those with access to big money can buy in, each having to cover the price of multiple lots to buy them all. Home Owners Association becomes the land lord of those who can't buy a share. Works best when a city wants to save the park and pushes local banks and non-profits to make it happen.
3. Asking the park owner to go condo: Each resident would be offered the opportunity to buy their lot, this could work if the park owner offers mortgages to those without credit and brokers the mortgages later once a payment record is established. The park owner would remain in charge of the utilities, common areas, management/maintance and vacant slots until all the lots were sold and a working HOA set-up simular to an apartment or hotel conversion to condo. The advantages besides owning your lot would be the ability to sell the lot at a profit down the road and mortgage payments could be lower then current lot rent or at least lower then local lot rents ours would jump to if the park remains a park. Drawback might be an association fee large enough to cover expenses, a wall - necessitating moving some homes away from fronting the Lyons Road side or turning them the long way, and upgrading water, sewer, landscaping, lighting, etc.
4. Asking the park owner to sell us our lots: Each resident would be offered the opportunity to buy their lot, this might work if the park owner offers mortgages to those without credit and brokers the mortgages later once a payment record is established. Advantages are owning your lot as real property with Homestead Exemption and Save Our Homes tax limitations. Drawbacks are the common areas and utilities being given to the city who may not want to maintain or upgrade our infrastructure let alone for a reasonable price. Some lots may not be large enough as individual home sites. We might have to petition this city to allow us conversion to a community development area like a town within a city leasing services, more an option for wealthy areas escaping their neighbors. We might still need a HOA like Sandlefoot Cove in Boca for maintenance and quality of life control.
Option 3 or 4 might be the best way to go if the park owner
wants to cash out of the business without doing us in. Selling
lots or converting lots to condo lets park owners cash out of
a property, while usually retaining lucrative contracts to manage
the office maintenance and other services for a time. Meanwhile,
they pass on most of the risks of ownership to the new park owners.
"I'm just a girl from a trailer park with a dream."
Hilary Swank at the Oscars 02/27/2005
Re: City has a financial interest in seeing people's homes taken for redevelopment.
The story of the Tropical Trailer Gardens Mobile Home Park is a deplorable example of a problem rampant in South Florida. "Investors" buy large apartment complexes or mobile home parks. They then extract as much "cash flow" from the unfortunate renters and do the minimal maintaince.When the property value is right, they sell the property to developers or commercial interests. The low income people living in the properties are then evicted and treated like unwanted trash.
In the case of mobile home parks, there are regulations in state statute chapter 723 that are impossible to get enforced. As your story illustrated, there are no consequences for the park owners. State agencies that govern these parks usually refuse to get involved. Most of the low income or elderly people living in these parks cannot afford attorneys to represent them. The attorney doing the pro bono work for the Tropical Garden residents should be commended.
In Coconut Creek, the owner of Coral Lake Mobile Home Park and the city want to rezone the property to build expensive condos. This would displace at least eight hundred people living in the park. The owner of this park was fined by the city for hundreds of code violations in 2004. The city put a lien on the property in August 2004 for the 500,000 dollars worth of fines that had accumulated. Several days later, the residents of the park got letters a rezoning application had been submitted to the city planning and zoning board. If the city has a financial interest in this property being developed, how could they make an objective decision?
Even though the rezoning has yet to be approved, the developer has begun advertising their proposed protect. Loan sharks and a relocation service started offering to "help" the residents. The owner began evicting residents that had made previous arrangements to pay off back due rent.
The city claims they want to be "progressive" and plan to build a high end residential and retail complex the area where the mobile home park is. Part of this "progressive" plan includes displacing hundreds of low income families. In the midst of a county wide affordable housing crisis, this is both heartless and irresponsible.
The city of Coconut Creek appears to be ashamed of it's low income residents that lower property values. The progressive thing to do would be to assist these residents in improving their community, not by eliminating them.
Jan Ellery Feb. 21, 2005
Re: Eminent Domain replacing homes with businesses to improve the city tax base.
I feel for Americans who are having their home unduley confiscated by weak domain laws. I can't immagine how
some persons can look themself in the face after being an instigator to kicking people off their property
regardless. It is a ripoff. I couldn't be paid enough to do a thing like that. This all started off by people who
thought they could hold out for a higher price even though their property was of a far lessor value. Now the
scamers are working it the opposite way. There seems to be that there is no middle of the road. This is going to
be legislated by the high court soon. Long time American ownership values should come into play. Home
ownership should have top value in settling this dispute. A lot of home owners are watching this. I wish you a
successful win in what you have got coming. A home owner's should have top priority in America. Good luck
I sent your sentiments to the City Commissioner. Good luck in your efforts.
Fran Sheehy, Coconut Creek Chamber of Commerce
Re: Some people just don't get it:
Your park isn't safe from redevelopment because the owner is correcting code violations, landscaping and bringing in new homes. The real problem is the sticker in your front window that says, "Mobile Home" which translates to "lower taxes" for the city vs just about any other type of housing on the same property.
The defense for code violations should be correcting them, but
the city of Coconut Creek practices "creative fining" where
they just make up fines or misapply fines and ignore protests
they're invalid. The city follows up by extorting your land
owner with threats of foreclosure if he doesn't sell you out
to a developer to improve their tax base. Keeping your park
tidy makes it a bit harder, but is no reliable defense when
the city comes for you.
RE: Comprehensive Plan.
Comprehensive (land use) plans were mandated in Florida by the 1985 Growth Management Act. This plan was supposed to protect the health, safety and quality of life of all Floridians and affordable housing. The truth is that many local politicians are biased against manufactured housing. They will vote to change a land use (comprehensive) plan to get rid of manufactured housing. They say this is for improvement through redevelopment. Many of the land use plans do not designate manufactured housing as "affordable housing" that would provide some protection.
If the park owner wants the land use plan changed to allow construction of an apartment complex, condominiums, shopping center, or expensive sitebuilt homes, the law presumes that the change should not be granted unless it benefits the public. The law is clear that nobody is legally entitled to a comprehensive plan change.
The politicians and bureaucrats usually look at what they perceive to be a large increase in taxable revenue. They give little or no thought to displacing the residents of a manufactured home community. They rarely consider that the resident being displaced won't be able to move his home. Selling it is out of the question. Since they are on fixed incomes they can rarely afford to stay in that area. Not only do they lose their home, they lose the lifestyle they sought in community living. While the new development results in direct increased revenue, often everyone will pay increased taxes as the new land use plan means that new roads, sewers, water and other improvements are required that all taxpayers must pay for. All of this results from the bias the politicians and bureaucrats have against manufactured housing and consider these communities undesirable.
Let me quote from a recent article written by Lesley Blackner: "The best way to protect thousands of manufactured home communities in Florida is to ensure that they are properly recognized in comprehensive plans as Affordable Housing and then give the power over proposed plan changes to the people who live there."
Re: Affordable Housing Crisis
Broward County currently has a crisis due to recent sky- rocketing home prices. By dislocating one thousand low income residents, the city of Coconut Creek is adding to this problem. We could certainly argue that manufactured homes are affordable housing. Maybe we could get the county interested in our issues. I will also contacting the County Commissioners and encourage others to do so. Please also send in letters to the Editor of the Sun -Sentinel. My letter got the response from our "friend" Art who wants to eliminate all mobile home parks in the city. We need to keep our problem fresh in the media. Unite and Fight! Conquer the Condos!!!!
Jan Ellery 1/23/05
DATE: 1/21/2005 at 13:08:44
Reply To: (#50057) Coral Lake Mobile Home Park Fights Rezoning
Here we go again folks, another park becomes an endangered
species. I would
fight like heck in the city counsel, I would be calling every
member of that
comittee daily, you need to get organized, the whole park needs
involved. Any one of us in this forum is in danger of this same
happening to them. Tom
Often the only difference between quaint and historic
and blight is trash all around. A drive through Coral Lake
finds trash on some lots and this more then anything else can
make Coral Lake look like a trashy place the city should clean
up or clean out. Take a moment each day to pick up what's in
your yard. If you live next to an empty lot or an untidy
neighbor keep both areas clean it isn't hard and will go a long
way toward shutting up our critics. Thank you. 01/20/2005
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