Mobile-home park faces redevelopment | September 14, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 14, 2012

Mobile-home park faces redevelopment

Buena Vista residents could be forced out to make way for apartments

by Sue Dremann

Buena Vista, the only surviving mobile-home park in Palo Alto, could soon be history, according to city officials.

Residents in the 117-unit park located at 3980 El Camino Real received a letter from property owner/manager Joe Jisser last week informing them that his family is exploring redevelopment options.

The family has owned Buena Vista, located near Los Robles Avenue behind a strip mall, since 1986, Jisser said on Monday. They are working with Prometheus Real Estate Group in San Mateo.

Prometheus specializes in the acquisition, development and management of residential and commercial properties and builds apartments, according to its website. It also focuses on transit-oriented development in areas that are close to corporate campuses, such as Apple in Cupertino and Google in Mountain View.

Jon Moss, Prometheus executive vice president and partner, said Wednesday the company is considering buying the property from the Jissers and building up to 187 one- and two-bedroom apartments that are between 750 square feet and 1,050 square feet. The property is being considered because it fits into the Grand Boulevard Initiative for El Camino Real, which envisions higher-density housing with access to transit, schools and retail.

Prometheus would likely seek to have the 4 1/2 acres rezoned from 15 units per acre to 40 units per acre, said Amy French, Palo Alto's chief planning official. The property borders single-family homes in the Barron Park neighborhood and is currently home to 104 mobile homes, 12 studio apartments or cabins and a single-family residence. The redevelopment could rise from two stories closest to the homes behind the park to three or four stories closer to El Camino Real.

No application has been submitted, however, and no city commission has reviewed the plans, officials said.

Redevelopment of Buena Vista, which gradually became established as a trailer park after World War II, has been rumored for years, with the Jissers repeatedly denying they had such plans. But Jisser said that 12 years ago the city noted the park had a 10-year life span before its infrastructure, including water and electrical facilities, would need upgrading.

"We're at 12 years now. We're starting to get a feel that the infrastructure won't hold up too much longer. We figure the utilities might last another two to five years," he said.

"If you do upgrade, the cost would be enormous," he said.

Many of the pre-1950s mobile homes would also require improvements to accommodate the new utilities, including increased electrical power, he said.

A majority of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park's residents are very low and low-income, seniors or disabled, according to the city.

Upgrading the park to comply with state codes would mean the legal spacing between units would change.

"That means a large reduction in the number of homes. You would almost have to start building a new mobile home park from the ground up," Jisser said.

French said the proposed redevelopment is in keeping with the city's Comprehensive Plan, which encourages multi-family residences.

The city has no position on the redevelopment, said Curtis Williams, the city's planning director. But "we need to explore if there are ways to retain the mobile-home park or to ensure there is an affordable component to the redevelopment," he added.

In 2000 the city and the Jissers developed an agreement after rent increases threatened some Buena Vista residents with eviction.

The City Council, which called Buena Vista "an essential source of affordable housing in Palo Alto," subsequently adopted a mobile-home ordinance, No. 4696. That ordinance guarantees Buena Vista residents help with the costs of relocating.

California's Mobilehome Residency Law also requires that mobile-home residents be compensated prior to the conversion of a property.

Buena Vista residents pay about $800 to $1,300 per month for their spaces. Although the city can't require any of the proposed apartments be reserved for low-income residents, the city would have to have some serious discussions on how to retain or replace the lost affordable housing, Curtis said.

On Wednesday afternoon, children chased each other around Buena Vista's laundry room, and dogs barked at passersby. Jose, 9, and his 6-year-old brother, Jovani, played with Bumblebee, their Chihuahua, in front of their prefab home.

Moving "will be really hard on my mom and my grandma. My mom is trying to make a house for my grandma in Mexico. We aren't buying things. Both of my parents are working. My dad can barely buy the rent here," Jose said. He also does not want to leave his school, he said.

Noemi Atayde grew up in Buena Vista and still lives in a home surrounded by trees, shrubs and flowers that her mother has carefully cultivated. Atayde lives with her parents, her 2-year-old daughter, Ellie, her sister and her nephew. The 3-year-old boy has autism and is just starting to get help from the Palo Alto Unified School District. Moving to another affordable place could mean having to switch school districts, which concerns the family.

The move doesn't come as a surprise, however, she said.

"They have mentioned it for many years, and there have been rumors," she said. "Everybody is saying they have to move, and nobody can do anything about it. People are saying that everyone should be looking for another place to go now and not wait until the last minute when they can't find anything."

One person is looking for a house in East Palo Alto, and Atayde's parents want to find a house or another trailer, she said. Many people are concerned they will have to leave their mobile homes behind. Some residents are waiting to move, so they will receive some compensation for their investments, she said.

Moss said that Prometheus "would absolutely" follow the city's mobile-home ordinance.

Company representatives have started meeting with neighbors in adjacent apartment buildings and single-family homes, he said.

But some Barron Park residents are organizing to support Buena Vista residents who want to stay. Winter Dellenbach said she is starting the Friends of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and has 12 people who are ready to speak out against the conversion.

"It's an issue of economic diversity. ... Here's one of the greatest resources in the city," she said.

"We don't want everybody to think there is a NIMBY thing going on here. They are our neighbors; we are one neighborhood. I have not received one comment about, 'Oh, good. Let's get rid of 115 units of housing and cabins.' This place is interwoven into the fabric of the neighborhood. It's not just a possession of one person who can decide the fate of a whole community of people," she said.

Dellenbach said she could not imagine the outcry if any other comparably sized part of the neighborhood was abolished. And she thinks the city should do an impact study. If the developers want a zoning change, the city would have leverage to retain affordable housing units, she said.

The Jissers also own the retail strip at 3990 El Camino and Los Robles Avenue that fronts the mobile-home park. The lessees include a Jamba Juice, Baja Fresh and C2 education center. A spa is scheduled to move into the former Blockbuster video store. They also own property under an adjacent Valero gas station and a quarter-acre behind it, but those properties are not part of the redevelopment, Jisser said.

Planning for the retail strip will follow a different track from redevelopment of Buena Vista because the leases still have years before expiration, he said.

Moss said Prometheus could file a prescreening application this week for review by the City Council. He expects the project would come up for initial study in November.


Do you favor the city involvement in ensuring below-market housing at the Buena Vista mobile-home park?


Buena Vista started as a tourist camp for travelers in 1926. To learn more, go to Palo Alto Online and search for "A history of Buena Vista."

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at


Posted by A Palo Altan, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:19 am

The Ventura neighborhood is also one of the few in Palo Alto that has an ethnic diversity not seen in most parts of our city. This is due to the fact that some of the apartments are older and have had lower, affordable, rents than those in adjacent areas. However, now at least one new owner is raising rents up to 50%. It looks as if the aim there is to have residents move and to renovate the apartments to justify the higher rents. With the demand for rentals in Palo Alto, there will doubtless be those who can and will pay the higher rates. However, long time residents and those with children in Palo Alto schools and jobs here, will be displaced. Is this what we want? It's all legal, so what can be done?

Posted by Emily Renzel, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:56 am

Years ago, before the current owner bought this property, the City zoned the property to try to protect this very important part of our housing stock. The City should really think about the implications of tinkering with the current zoning. Rezoning would not only result in an obscene density, with traffic and school implications, but it would also mean that Palo Alto would have to densify some other part of Palo Alto in order to comply with State Housing mandates.

Posted by Sandy, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:18 am

Every where you look, there is new housing in Palo Alto and it is ridiculous. This is really sad that these people will be displaced and the City doesn't care about them. Adding more housing will be adding more traffic, more children for the already crowded schools - enough is enough. Why is it that every time there is a new development the City of Palo Alto turns their back on those that are affected.

Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:19 am

The city just updated its zoning ordinance. It's not as though this document is out of date. I am apalled they would consider rezoning so soon after a public discussion and decision on zoning. Zoning is supposed to provide certainty to property owners abut existing uses.

Lately, there is no certainty at all for residents...or PAUSD whose ability to plan for growth is impacted by this kind of willy nilly upzoning.

A developer asks. The developer gets. In this case, the result will be gentrification of an area where really vulnerable people could be harmed. Alternate solutions must be considered.

Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:24 am

As much as I pick on trailer parks and refer to them when denigrating white people of a different political persuasion than myself, in a way they are like railroads, bowling alleys, and drive-in theatres, part of the heartbeat of America. I kind of hate to see them go. It's gonna be tough on those folks if they have to relocate.
By the way, there is a drive-in in Vegas that recently reopened, and the lines stretch about a quarter mile down the street on nights it is open.
The trouble is, the land is too valuable for re-development, so it's doubtful it will survive.

Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

This is just another one of our city councils' absolutely STUPID thoughts about "improving" our city. I believe what everyone says about none of the council members living in Palo Alto!
We have over crowded schools - with the district trying to find new locations.
We do NOT want or need more housing.
We have too many UGLY developments already!
We have too much traffic.
Get an f'ing clue!
Leave our city alone!

Posted by rem, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:43 am

rem is a registered user.

When is this "so called" government going to learn to say NO - No - No - No.

OH well money in their pockets.... NOT the city.

Posted by A Voter, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Hey folks, YOU voted these people in. It's your own fault that these projects get the go ahead. Of course you could go to the Council meetings to object or express your feelings. Remember, there are elections coming up shortly

Posted by No more density housing, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Please, no more density housing. Just a couple of blocks from this area on Maybell and Clemo (near the fire station), there is a group trying to put in 60 units of low income housing and 10 single family homes. Enough already. Our schools and streets are too crowded.

Posted by jardins, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

In my view, the city should purchase the Buena Vista property from the Jissers, and continue the rents to the residents at the same level as they are now.

Posted by Challenge, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

The proposed housing project would not have any affordable housing units for low income households. None of the current residents of the Mobile Park would be able to afford the new rental units. Fortunately, a nonprofit is proposing to build a 60-unit apartment building affordable to low income seniors and 15 market rate units (single family homes) on the corner of Maybell and Clemo. The proposal will be discussed at the City Council meeting next Tuesday, September 18, 2012.

Posted by barron park, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I am having trouble understanding the rants about insensitive, developer-biased government, at least based on this story. The story is about a developer proposal that has not be reviewed at all, and that no doubt will be subject to considerable public input and negotiations. In fact, the only directly related government action referred to in the article, I think, is Ordinance 4696 that was passed a while ago to require relocation help for any residents who were forced to move.

However this proposal comes out, I am also perplexed by the feeling that this site must be protected at all costs. I live nearby and I am delighted that Buena Vista and its residents here. However, if the facts asserted in the story are correct, maintaining Buena Vista beyond a handful of additional years could require a very large investment, would dislocate some residents, and might require replacing many of the homes in any case. Who would pay for this?

If the upgrades occur and the expense is applied to the rents, we will simply have gentrification by a different means. And, if upgrades are delayed, who is going to be responsible for the health and safety issues that may arise?

Finally, to note the obvious: there is a simple, direct route to success if one feels strongly about responsible management of this property: organize like-minded people to raise the funds to buy and manage the site as you see fit!

Posted by Think it through..., a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

If you're concerned with traffic, why would you defend low desnity sprawl that can only be well served by cars instead of moderate density housing that supports transit. Nostalgia is not a ciy plan.

Posted by Tyler Hanley, digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

The following comments were moved from a duplicate thread:

Posted by Jon, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, 5 hours ago:

"The first thing is that our neighbors need to be protected, not sacrificed to profit. It is a little to easy to push low-inome families around."


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, 5 hours ago:

"I suppose we are going to get more ugly townhomes built right up to the street without setbacks sold to people wanting to get their kids into our schools.



Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, 3 hours ago:

"It's nice to read these above comments.

It's hard to balance the Palo Alto many of us remember with the current - less financial diversity, more land value. Plus, of course, I understand from the owner's perspective - upgrading gets insanely expensive & sometimes doesn't make sense, after a fashion - especially if their bottom line is profit, not preserving neighborhood components.

So if they get rid of the current, who pays to relocate the current residents?"

Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm

City Hall wants all the $ it can get. So development is a given. They don't make decisions based on neighborhood characters, traffic, etc.

It's just based on one thing: city revenues.

Posted by em, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Boo Hoo!

Posted by Hoover, a resident of Monroe Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

"Winter Dellenbach said she is starting the Friends of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park "
If I were a resident, I would be worried now. Look what the "Friends" of Alma Plaza did to that neighborhood shopping center--we have an ugly housing development with no setback and a small botique grocery instead of a vibrant shopping center.

I am thinking of starting a Friends of Enemies of Friends Groups in Palo alto. The city does not need another single agenda group trying to bully the city

Posted by Dan, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

The Jissers own this property and should have a right to sell or redevelop it as they wish, within the law. I don't believe in forcing property owners to subsidize housing for the public good. However, rezoning would essentially be a gift from the City to the Jissers, since it would increase the value of their property. If it is rezoned, the owners should pay a significant portion of the value increase back to the City to compensate for the increased burden on infrastructure (schools, roads, etc).

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I totally support the idea of the San Mateo Group developing this area into a nice, livable community. Let someone develop the area who has the resources/funds to make this just as pleasant as other areas of Palo Alto. Let this developer work in peace and develop an area that has been neglected for decades.

Note there are many low income options exist in Barron Park especially.

"Large " low income apartment buildings exist on on Los Robles Ave, Maybell/ Arasterdero. These are completely low income. Also, the Palo Alto housing Corp ( name??) is just now purchasing a large property next to Los Robles Part to build a large low income housing.

Posted by Carlos, a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Property owners are entitled to sell their properties in a way that maximizes their gains. After all, they took a big chance purchasing the property and holding it. If the market turns in their favor, let them enjoy it.
The same should apply to developers. If they can develop beautiful properties that command a high market price and there are willing buyers, they have made the right decision.

Posted by Franco, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm

that place is an eye sore. it's got to go. Good riddance. The people living there could move to San Jose. We in Palo Alto need our property values to stay up so we can make more money when we sell. I do not blame the owner

Posted by Ex-employee, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I've responded to trouble calls at Buena Vista, it's a death trap. They are absolutely correct in saying the utilities need upgrading. PAFD has been there more than once putting out burned up mobile-homes. I'm surprised the Jissers haven't been sued over the conditions there.

My daughter works for Promethe us. They build and manage very nice communities.

Posted by No high density Housing, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm

How can we STOP the city to approve high density housing development? Traffic is too crowded, schools don't have enough space to support. I think we need actions to stop instead of just complaining about it.

Posted by Former Buena Vista resident, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2012 at 1:29 am

To those who consider this an eye sore. Get over it. I'm sorry that most of us cannot afford amazing houses or tiny apartments in this rich area. But guess what most of us really don't want to live there hell its a step up from the gang streets of SJ or Stockton. The whiny rich residents of this town may hate that their property values to sink but even us minority residents of this town deserve a chance to send our kids to a relatively good school. Jisser isn't the greatest person to rent from but my mom and I suffered ten long years living in that terrible are just so I could have a chance to go to a good school district. Granted they are "looking into their options" regarding their plans most likely it will screw over everyone in the park. So all the rich residents can rest assure their property values will rise and we can continue to forcibly white wash this city once again.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:11 am

I am usually anti-trailor parks but Buena Vista is not an obvious eyesore; it's hardly noticeable. And from reading the posting of "Former Buena Vista resident", it's clear that PAUSD served the student well because the writing is grammatically correct and the poster seems intelligent, clearly he/she has success in the future.

Building more units? Our schools are already too full. When will City Council place a limit on building?

Posted by SteveU, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

SteveU is a registered user.

The City (PA) Managed to upgrade utilities (Gas, Electric and Sewer)(Cable and Telephone have also been done) in Barron Park in the last 15 years, without having residents move out. Why can't the landlord? Yes, tenants will be inconvenienced, while it happens. So!

The property was zoned for a Trailer Park when the title transferred. There is no *right* to have it rezoned to something else just because they want to sell.

Posted by A Palo Altan, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Palo Alto today is no place for a trailer park. If you want to replace it with modest housing that might be affordable to what passes around here for middle class then fine. This is a highly desirable community-- desirable communities are expensive to live in. If you make them cheap to live in, they will no longer be so desirable. Look at the places around the Bay Area with inexpensive housing. Are the liberals who bleat about this relocation moving there? No. Those who find Palo Alto too economically un-diverse for their preferences are welcome to live in any number of other places in the Bay Area. There is no need to keep an anachronism in the city out of misplaced sentimentality.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Most likely P.A. upgraded their lines leading into the park in which the Jisser being the owners must upgrade what they own. The costs are high which I think the streets, the lines, storm drains and not to be forgotten the 12 rental units.

Posted by GougedInMidtown, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Change is natural to everything and this is just change. By the definition of those opposed to this, we should be opposed to rising rents or rising home prices since that would be unfair to those who cannot afford it! I agree with "A Palo Altoan" that this is not a matter to be sentimental about. At the end of the day the land is privately owned by the Jissers and they should not be told to subsidize low income housing. It is their right as owners to determine what (within the law) they can do with their property.

Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

> “Remember, there are elections coming up shortly.”

See list of impolite questions for candidates at Web Link

Posted by John, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm

"Prometheus would likely seek to have the 4 ½-acres rezoned from 15 units per acre to 40 units per acre".

Very simple to say no to the rezoning. It is what it is.

But developers seem to have the pull to do want ever they want irregardless of the consequences. Traffic and school imacts to name a few.

Prometheus has been charging around Mountain View like a titanic rhino, now its our turn.

Posted by Brent, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm

While as someone property notes, the Jissers own this property and should have a right to sell or redevelop it as they wish, within the law, I believe that in return for the increased value that the property owner would receive through an upzone, the City should get some low and moderate income rental housing units to augment our horrendously low supply. Moreover, the units should first be offered to the low income residents likely to be displaced, such as through an option of first refusal. Unjust enrichment results when the property owner upzones without any associated community benefit. Given that these are largely affordable units in the first place, there is a direct nexus to a requirement to create affordable units in return for granting the owners a upzone, which likely will generate a windfall profit.

Posted by john, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Really people have you seen the condition of this place? It is time to move on with a new development. The only question is what to build. NOT should we build.

Posted by peter, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I wonder what would bring more traffic to the neighborhood. The current zoning would allow them to build almost 70 units. Most Likely all with a price tag of 2,000,000+ with 3 car garage. Or 170 1 to 2 bedroom apartments that would Bring in a different demographic of people. People who generally ride bikes to work and school and use public transportation.

Posted by LadyGM, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I'm with you John - and can we include the Glass Slipper Inn?

Posted by John, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Oh, I didn't get it. Prom is doing us a favor by getting the zoning density changed by 2 1/2 times plus!

It's not about the money.

Apartment dwellers don't drive or have children.

Posted by Richard O. , a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm

well is sad to see how the money and the power can destroy the people's life, all those poor families only need a home, sounds easy to take them out, but really think this they are human's like you and me, the only problem for them is the money, they are not rich people!

Posted by Jerry99, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2012 at 6:30 am

The trailer park is an eyesore and the old trailers crowded together are a fire hazard. The owners should be able to sell their property to whoever they want without the left wing bleeding hearts chiming in. Over the last 20 years the City Council has already filled the neighborhood with low rent properties and the crime has incrased. There is now constant graffiti on the buildings and fences. People that want this eyesore to remain dont live near the trailer park, but want us to endure the decrease in property values and the crime that trailer parks bring to our neighborhood. Get rid of it.

Posted by John P, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2012 at 6:38 am

If Immigration (not enforced under the last 3 administrations) did their job at least half the residents would be back in Mexico and we would not be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in education costs and ESL education costs. Other parts of Palo Alto near the Power Plant or Ikea should be considered by developers for low cost developments like this.

Posted by George, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

This is typical. 90% of the people commenting "save the trailer park" don't live in Barron Park and don't realize what an eyesore and fire danger the trailer park has become. As usual, this is typical of left wing bleeding hearts that want a mini-ghetto in Palo Alto - as long as it is not in their neighgborhood.

Posted by Jon, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I live in Barron Park, I have for forty years. The trailer park should stay, or new housing built for the residents of the park in this neighborhood. Why disrupt the Buena Vista boys' and girls' educational opportunity of attending the local schools, just so that some rich people can get richer? Sorry, George, our current neighbors are just fine. And, John P, perhaps you would be happier in a more conservative neighborhood.

Posted by jane, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I read in the paper that the jisser's have owned the trailer park since 1986. If they want to sell and move on, who are we stop them. For all of you with "bleed hearts" out there, why would you expect the jisser's to take of the poor people. Isn't that why we have a local government? They took the risk of buying the place, and should have the right to develop or sell (within the law) as they wish.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm

John P - what you may not realize is that a lot of the ESL in Palo Alto are NOT kids that speak Spanish. Mandarin is the second most spoken language at Gunn. The Nixon and Gunn students are from dozens of countries thanks to the Stanford students and visiting professors.

The owners of the trailer park should be able to sell it or develop it. What we should focus on is finding affordable homes for the current residents.

Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Why developers like tiny apartments: In SF, average rent for a 493 sq ft studio apartment is $2,075 month or $4.21/sq ft. Proposed 220 sq ft units would rent for $5.91 - $6.82.

See Tiny living space: S.F. looks at reducing minimums for apartment size at Web Link

"It's disingenuous to say it creates affordable housing, it's just that you get significantly less space," said Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. "This doesn't create affordable housing, it simply creates another lifestyle option."

She also worries that the "shoe-box" units could create a slippery slope of allowing other exemptions on considerations like natural light and ceiling height.

Posted by John P, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Barron Park has been the dumping grund for Palo Alto for years. The majority of "low income housing" development and apartment converstion has occured in Barron Park, because most of the City Council live in Crescent Park or Old Palo Alto. A loss of a few dozen residents to other apartmetns in Palo Alto, Mtn. View or Menlo Park will not "gentrify the neighborhood".

Posted by LadyGM, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 16, 2012 at 7:05 am

@KP, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:42 am
"We have too many UGLY developments already!"

Ugly? You're concerned about Ugly? Have you seen to the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park? Buena Vista it is not.

I invite you to go over to it sometime and walk around and then post about your observations.

The Barron Park neighbors who are posting to in favor of its development might like to be your tour guides. They look at mobile homes every day.

Posted by LadyGM, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 16, 2012 at 8:24 am

@KP --
let me rephrase my previous statement. What I should've said was "go over to the mobile home park and look at it from an aesthetic point of view" if you're concerned about what is and isn't ugly in Palo Alto. I do not mean to observe it from a "who lives there" point of view. I too feel badly for those who are about to be uprooted because the owner wants to sell. However, that happens more than we are probably aware of in Palo Alto. I've seen many good families move out of PA because the owner of the rental wanted to sell, or the owner of their apt. building raised the rent by 100s a month, to the point where they could no longer afford to live in PA. I think that the outcry here is that it's 117 units worth of folks, not just one house or a few apartments worth. But it's not like this is the first time this has ever happened to anyone in PA.

The article states that there are about 117 units there now. And I realize that the proposed development plans for more than 117. 117 units there now still add to the traffic, 117 units there now still add kids to the school district -- it's not like it's 4+ acres of park land that suddenly will become housing with cars and kids in the schools. So they'll go from 117 units to 187 units, perhaps with a parking garage below the buildings? The way it is now, there are cars lining Los Robles up and down because there isn't enough parking inside the BVMP for all the cars there now. Is it that the BVMP folks park their cars in front of other people's homes on Los Robles Ave?

Let's look at it for what it is. If there are 117 not-so-sightly units there now, and apparently they're not up to code, they're fire hazards, they're structurally unsound. Is that safe for the current residents? Is that safe to have right next to a gas station?

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

Don't really know many cars, how many people will live in each house, apt or trailer. Will they have kids, newly married or have school age kids. All I know this I drive, no kids, live in a rental and someday need senior housing. One thing is would like to nicely built projects.

Posted by John P, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2012 at 11:40 am

LadyGM, yes I have walked inside the park and outside along Los Robles and it looks like the firs scene in a drug sale and meth lab movie. The trailers are decades old and look horrilbe. Walk across the street and look at it from Los Robles near the apartment building. A single woman would never rent an apartment there.

"Posted by LadyGM, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, 4 hours ago
@KP, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:42 am
"We have too many UGLY developments already!"
Ugly? You're concerned about Ugly? Have you seen to the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park? Buena Vista it is not.
I invite you to go over to it sometime and walk around and then post about your observations. "

Posted by John P, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2012 at 11:48 am

TO: a palo alto mom, who does not live in Barron Park. The Manarin students are not living in the trailer park, and probably not taking ESL either.

"Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, 21 hours ago
John P - what you may not realize is that a lot of the ESL in Palo Alto are NOT kids that speak Spanish. Mandarin is the second most spoken language at Gunn. The Nixon and Gunn students are from dozens of countries thanks to the Stanford students and visiting professors."

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I hate to say it, but the mobile home park does look terrible. That's due in large part to the owners not doing their part as well as not having higher standards for their tenants. OTOH, very low income people deserve to live in a safe environment, even if not aesthetically pleasing. That's hard to accomplish in an expensive area, but it's also the reality when we live in a capitalist democracy. There's always a percentage of folks who, for various reasons, earn so much less than the majority that they need help in one way or another.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

John P - I believe the majority of ESL students at Gunn are NOT Spanish speaking, but I'm sure you are correct that the are also probably not in the trailer park either. However, if there are apartments built on that site, there will be students living there, often without any adults. Families move from China and Taiwan to Palo Alto to send their students to Gunn.

Posted by Kim B, a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

My best friend, a very disabled American Veteran, lives in the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park with his two Scottie Dogs. Being close to the VA Hospital, as well as living in a place he can afford on his SS Disability, is a HUGE ISSUE for him. I visit from the Santa Cruz area (formerly of Palo Alto-Mountain View)and have found everyone I've met in the Mobile Home Park to be nice and loving people. As a 68 year-old woman, I do not hesitate to stay there or to walk through the park at night. I believe the first responsibility should be to the Park residents, whether the Park stays or goes. The Owners will do okay either way. Just my opinion after having met a number of Park Residents. It's an awful thing to fear homelessness.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Ugly buildings stand tall or cover a larger area. Single floors or more. They are public or private places. Learning, life or death. Places of faith, fun or sleep. Homes, units, trailets or work. Remember most people didn't like those flat roofed houses from a Palo Alto based builder. Old building styles were once new, trendy and old becomes new. Tastes change, styles change, riches change. People are poor, rich or become one or switch back. One thing is we are born, we live and we die.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm

We all need home. We need a place to sleep. We need a place for family and friends to gather. We need home to laugh and cry. We need home to love and be loved. We need home to be happy. We need home.

Posted by jane, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm

We may all have an opinion about the mobile home park. Some of Us want to see it go and others may not mind it. Regardless of your opinion the jisser's actually took the risk and bought it. As per the papers they have owned it for over 20 year, definitely not a short term investment. Now its time to sell, who are we to stop them. I would be upset if people interfered with my investments. If you don't like the proposed plan then step up and make them an offer.

Posted by Midtowner, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2012 at 1:48 am

If I can't afford to live at one place, I would pack up and move to another park / city / state. What's the big deal, people do this all the time. Sometimes people move up, other times people move down. Some upsize, others downsize.

Uprooting isn't always a bad thing. Otherwise many of us wouldn't be here today.

Some people here talk as if these people will be homeless. That's so misguided and misleading.

Posted by AJ C., a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 19, 2012 at 1:08 am

I've lived in this park for about a decade, and I'm not about to give up on it now! My 6-person family's going under a huge amount of financial issues and I doubt we'll be able to find any place within the city and area to move to in time. My three siblings will have to transfer to new schools - when they've been living in this area their entire lives. We cannot afford to be removed from here. We refuse to be removed.

There are so many people living here because they want to live in this beautiful city with a superior education system, but normally couldn't afford to do so if it wasn't for the Buena Vista trailer park.

Surely we could do something about this. Start a petition - a protest? You can't just suddenly uproot people.

Posted by Adriana Lomeli, a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm

We are not Homeless, no matter what all you "important people" say we are people who have rights and we are equal even if we live in trailers. I been living here for about 7 years i went to barron park, jls middle school, and a junior in Gunn high school so bless to be in the community and am not about to move just because some people want to improve the city, Well am trying to improve my education, my values and and my family around a nice and save place to leave. What it worries me is the community and all the people who live here, we can't just be kick out or buy by others. If thats what you think is right then go ahead. But am not moving from this place until something goes right and fair for all our all people who live here.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm

It does not sound like maintaining Buena Vista as-is is an option. It sounds like the to keep a trailer park on the site, Buena Vista must upgrade the obsolete utilities, upgrading some of the trailers and removing some since additional space would be required between them by code. The other alternative is rezoning and building something different.

Perhaps our focus should be on finding the residents an affordable alternative, with a focus on keeping kids in the school district since needing to move (whether for a remodel or new build) sound inevitable.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 24, 2012 at 9:07 am

Does anyone know what the compensation/assistance residents would get, as mentioned in the article? I know there are laws about this, but I don't know if they're city, county or state.

I know the animal hoarders in the news lived there, but other than that, there hasn't been much news about the place. Change isn't easy, especially when there's so much that's unknown & it affects us so deeply. But this place is pretty depressing - maybe w/some help, the current residents might actually end up somewhere more aesthetically pleasing w/more bang for their buck.

Posted by BLANCHE LANDAVERDE, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm


Posted by Dolores, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I have been living at Buena Vista Mobile Home Park for the last 12 years I'm a single Mother of 3 kids I work very hard every day to raise my family by myself with out Government help .For all you people that are making bad comments will you like to loose you beautiful homes my house is not to beautiful but I love my house my only home please put your self in my situation will you like not to have a house to live in? Be poor does not mean be delinquent I invite you all to walk inside Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and see that is e save place

Posted by Packard, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 8:53 am

This trailer park is a fire trap and an eye sore. It should be cleared as soon as possible. Palo Alto is a community is substance and means - people don't spend a million dollars for a home here because they like to live near a trailer park. [Portion removed.]

Posted by name removed, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 30, 2013 at 9:06 am

[Post removed.]

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