The First Urban Group Meeting
Held Feb. 2nd, 2005 at 7:00 PM
Last week we received the invitation from The Urban Group promoting this evening's meeting we just attended.
Roughly 75 to 100 residents of Coral Lake Mobile Home Park arrived representing approximately 40 to 50 households.
We were asked to sign-in on sheets with our lot number and name already printed. Brochures for The Urban Group were distributed as were sample interview applications.
The meeting began with an introduction to employees of The Urban Group who will be working on the relocation project for Coral Lake MHP residents.
Also in attendance were Todd Rosenzweig, one of the park owners as were park management Cheryl and Dave along with attorney Michael Moskowitz, who has been representing the park at the city commission meetings.
Enma Leyva of The Forum Tribune was among the audience. Watch the upcoming issues for her scoop.
Mention was made of The Urban Group successfully relocating several mobile home parks during the airport expansion. Of course it should be noted that was done under eminent domain so those people were paid fair market value for their homes making it easier then our relocation.
The meeting was supposed to be an initial introduction with limited audience participation through questions submitted on cards. This method naturally restricted follow-up questions and soon disintegrated into people calling out questions and comments.
Some questions were original, others reprised the rezoning hearing questions we were asking back then.
When people need answers, vague replies about an uncertain future won't do. Fortunately attorney Michael Moskowitz, who is used to public speaking, was able to step in and field the questions in a steadfast manner.
As memory serves:
Q: Has the park been sold?
A: The park is under contract to be sold once the rezoning goes through.
Q: Who hired The Urban Group:
A: The current park owners.
Q: When does the 6 month clock start ticking?
A: The 6 month clock starts when the rezoning is passed by the city commission. You will receive a notice after that.
Q: Do we have to pay rent during the 6 month period?
A: Yes, and you must have clear title to the home to apply for money from the state relocation fund or park owners.
Q: What about the mortgage loan still on the house?
A: You will still owe what you owe regardless of what becomes of the home.
Q: What is the total cost to move a mobile home?
A: It would vary depending on distance, we don't know.
Q: There are special needs individuals in the park.
A: The Urban Group will attempt to relocate you in the best way they can determine based on your needs.
Q: School may be in session:
A: You have some control over when you make your move. Try to work things out with your Urban Group associate.
Q: There is a 160lb dog that may make it hard to find suitable housing.
A: Hard to say prior to the needs interview and housing search.
Q: Are there available funds beyond the state minimum mandates?
A: You need to attend the city commission hearing when this is to be discussed, the date and time will be provided. The park owners are willing to add the $400,000. fine money to the pot if the city will return it.
Q: Won't going to personal interviews make it hard for the residents to deal collectively?
A: No one is in the same boat. Everyone's needs are different and are to be addressed on an individual basis. There won't be $20,000. checks waiting for everyone in the lobby.
Q: The park recently sold me my home and didn't tell me about this?
A: Get in touch with The Urban Group about this asap.
Q: The park didn't warn me about this when I bought the house from a private individual.
A: No apparent answer. There are some laws preventing the park from interfering with a home owner selling their home. Get in touch with your Urban Group representative.
Q: Why is the park being sold?
A: The park is an investment to be sold when the value goes high enough, but always intended to be a park until the city went after the park forcing the sale to be made this way.
Q: What were the major cause of fines?
A: $250,000. for missing yearly tax stickers. The rest of the $400,000. went mostly for illegal additions that somehow weren't a problem until the city wanted us out.
Attendees were asked to schedule appointments for individual one on one meetings with Urban Group representatives to pre-determine our housing needs and financial position. Some interview days are set aside for Spanish, be sure to ask.
In general there weren't enough park residents in attendance. The meeting didn't provide many new answers or sources of funds.
If additional funds aren't forthcoming The Urban Group contribution will consist mostly of advice and assistance filling out the proper forms for program vouchers. While one shouldn't totally discount the value of knowledgeable help finding a new place to live, some real financial aid for people about to lose or move their homes would go a long way toward a good outcome.
This meeting was the perfect example of what will happen
to us if we don't save the park.
If anyone recalls additional informative questions and
answers from the meeting send them in.
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