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Fort Collins city council moves to preserve six mobile home parks with new zoning ordinance

Posted at 10:40 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 01:03:25-05

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Residents of a mobile home park in Fort Collins feel a new sense of security after city council voted unanimously to move forward on a new mobile home zoning ordinance.

The ordinance aims to preserve six of ten mobile home parks within the city limits of Fort Collins. The parks include Harvey Village, Cottonwood, Harmony Village, Northstar, Skyline and Pleasant Grove.

For the last four years, Edith Escamilla and her family have called Harvey Village home. It’s the only home her 3-year-old daughter knows.

She says she and her husband have worked hard and made many sacrifices to buy their mobile home. She adds that she doesn’t qualify for loans and even if she did, she wouldn’t be able to afford a home on their current income. It's why she says her family and neighbors feel a new sense of relief and stability with the new zoning moving forward.

District 6 City Council member Emily Gorgol helped spearhead the mobile home zoning created by the city council. It aims to preserve mobile home properties and protect residents from being displaced.

“One of their biggest fears was that because of the development pressures in Fort Collins, that they’re going to be displaced with their park closing,” Gorgol said.

She says in the last decade, five mobile home parks have closed, displacing thousands of people. Most of the families living in the communities are immigrants and the elderly.

Currently, mobile home parks fall under a low-density residential zone.

“The owner could submit an application and then build single-family or multi-family dwelling units and then those mobile home parks would essentially close and displace those residents,” Gorgol said.

Under the new zoning, the council must review and approve any property redevelopments at the six parks, and residents must be notified of any changes in advance.

But not everyone is on board; two-property owners spoke out at a city council meeting.

“One property owner is very concerned about property rates because it does restrict who they can sell it to,” Gorgol said.

She adds that this new ordinance compliments a state bill to help protect mobile park residents and allows them to purchase a property up for sale at fair market value.

“Right now, a mobile home park resident owns their home, but they may not own the land underneath them and so they’re really only living half the American dream,” Gorgol said.

In two weeks, the city council will hold a final reading to approve and implement the mobile home zoning ordinance.