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Mobile Home Park shut down

Tenants left wondering about fate of the park

STAFF WRITER
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“Well, what’s the next step for us? It’s more expensive to move than it is to stay,” said tenant Claudia Rincon.

BARSTOW • A mobile home park off of Soapmine Road received a notice stating its annual permit to operate is suspended indefinitely after the park’s owner failed to remedy a number of violations over a year-and-a-half period.

The notice from the Department of Housing and Community Development was posted at the entrance of Hacienda Mobile Home Park last week stating that the park’s electrical lot services and septic systems had violated code. The park was cited in June 2011 and again in June 2012.

“This property is no longer a legitimate mobile home park for the purposes of the California Health and Safety Code, Sections 18214 and 18500,” the notice from the Department of Housing and Community Development stated. “It is unlawful for the owner/operator to operate, occupy, rent, lease, sublease, demand or collect rent, let out or hire out for occupancy, any lot within the mobile home park.”

A permit is also required for any construction work to be done to fix the violations, according to the notice. Hacienda Mobile Home Park is home to many families and long-time Barstow residents, with about 30 lots for rent.

Kayla Salony, 18, said she’s lived at the park since she was 4 years old. She said she saw the sign posted a week ago, but said she isn’t clear on what will happen next.

“My mom is worried we’ll lose our house,” Salony said.

When asked about the violations mentioned in the notice, she said she hadn’t “seen anything bad recently.”

“Our electricity goes in and out a lot and our water does, too,” Salony said. “One day (a lack of water) lasted for about almost two days. Electricity, it will last for a few hours.”

Another tenant, Jose Rincon, has lived at the mobile home park for the past 16 years. He and his niece Susan Urban said the upkeep of the park has been neglected since there was a change in ownership several years ago. Rincon points to two overflowing water meters at both of the vacant neighboring lots adjacent his mobile home as reasons for violation.

“We’re concerned to see what’s going to happen,” said Rincon’s wife, Claudia Rincon. “Are we going to get a notice for us to move? Because we have to find out what to do.”

John Webb, a representative for Hacienda Mobile Home Park, said the suspension only means that the park is not allowed to take rent from tenants. Webb said that state officials were not supposed to post the suspension notice until March 26.

Park Trustee Sharon Thurston said she took over the park nine years ago and has always worked with the Department of Housing and Community Development to remedy any violations.

“Every time there is something wrong, we fix it,” Thurston said. “What more can I do? I give thousands of dollars to the contractors I have and they do the work. And the contractor says he has the permits in his hands.”

She also said the electrical work in violation was already completed — though the letter from the Department of Housing and Community Development states otherwise.

“I’m at a loss. I’m spending every penny I have personally — trying to keep a low-income clean place for people to live” Thurston said.

The park was cited for selling a mobile home that was deemed uninhabitable by HCD in January. Black mold, flimsy flooring, a broken electrical panel and holes filled with foam were discovered throughout the unit. At the time, Webb said the occupants damaged the home themselves to get out of their contract.

Effective Feb. 11, the notice states that the park is no longer operating and that the suspension letter has been turned over to the Planning Department of the City of Barstow for zoning and land-use considerations.

Two messages left with the district representative for the Department of Housing and Community Development were not returned as of press time.

Meanwhile, longtime residents are left wondering what happens next.

“Well, what’s the next step for us?” Claudia Rincon said. “It’s more expensive to move than it is to stay.”

Contact Brooke Self at BSelf@DesertDispatch.com or (760) 256-4123.


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