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Park Residents Dispersed, No One is Compensated

Adam R.'s picture

Posted September 4, 2007

Hickory Lane MHP residents in Minona, Wisconsin wish that they were afforded the same protections as their neighbors in Minnesota.

Park owners Dottie and Mansel Jones announced their intention to close Hickory Lane.  While developer Kevin Metcalfe has publicly discussed the possibility of buying the park, no other buyer has emerged.

In ruminating, Metcalfe talked about providing each household with approximately

$5,000.  Those costs would have been meant to stand for the expected difficulties of moving homes.  That is a round number that only loosely approximates real costs.  Actual expenses might be much higher if residents cannot move their home into another park and instead need to abandon their home.

Still, Metcalfe's figure depended upon a number of assumptions.  He needed public financing for his project.  He needed an agreement with the park owners.  He has neither.

Minnesota recently set up a fund, paid from contributions made by both park residents and some park owners, to compensate mobile home park residents in the event of a mass eviction.  The contrast in consumer protections was not lost on Hickory Lane residents.

Residents invited Margaret Kaplan, an attorney for Minnesota's All Parks Alliance for Change, to speak.   She said that since the law was signed in 2000, that residents in 19 closed parks have received funds.

County Supervisor Bob Salov is also commented.  He had some interesting observations -- noting how he would like to change zoning rules to allow more land to be available for mobile home parks but that often "cities, towns, and neighborhood associations" protest against such moves.  That's a good example of the NIMBYism that afflicts mobile home park zoning.  It means that existing parks are very valuable.