Over the objections of 10 mostly elderly residents, the Port San Luis Harbor Commission on Tuesday began the process of closing a trailer park at Harbor Terrace and evicting all the inhabitants.
Closing the trailer park is expected to take more than a year. The move is necessary in order to make way for a new development that will include a recreational vehicle campground and other amenities, said Steve McGrath, harbor manager.
The district plans to issue a closure plan in late May or early June that will contain a final closing date and other details including relocation fees the district will pay the residents. The commission will also hold another hearing on the closure later in the year.
Of the 10 mobile-home owners, three say they are full-time residents. The rest live elsewhere and use their trailers as vacation homes. They typically pay about $200 per month in rent, McGrath said.
“For folks living in Fresno to have a vacation home on the coast for $200 a month is pretty sweet,” he said. “It’s now time to return the park to public use.”
The residents are reluctant to leave the scenic park location on the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Tom McAlexander, 78, is a full-time resident of the park and lives on Social Security.
He would have to move away from the coast in order to find a new place he could afford. “I would hate like hell to get booted out of here,” he said. “I love this place; it’s a great spot.”
Another full-time resident, Arline Wenter, said she is in her 80s and has no where else to go. Other residents said the evictions are premature and complained that harbor officials did not work with them to find a compromise.
“This appears to be an end-run around us,” resident Gary McCumber said. “They could develop the 24 acres around us and do this later.”
The district has owned the Harbor Terrace property since 1984. Trailer parks are not a standard part of a port facility, and the district had to amend the state’s Harbors and Navigation Code in order to be allowed to operate it with the understanding that it would eventually be closed.
The mobile home park had more than 40 trailers at one point. The rental agreement signed in 1984 requires that leases be terminated when the current occupant either dies or no longer lives there.
Commission Chairman Jim Blecha said the district has been open about its plans to close the trailer park. He promised that harbor officials would work with residents.
Reach David Sneed at 781-7930.