Capitola CA Mobile Home Park – Council Approves Sale of Castle Mobile Estates
Written by Daniel Wootan
At Thursday’s meeting, the Capitola City Council approved the sale of Castle Mobile Estates to Millenium Housing for $8.25 million from owner Abraham Keh.
Millenium is a nonprofit organization that offers affordable housing to people throughout California by purchasing and rejuvenating mobile home parks and apartment buildings. It owns 17 parks in the state.
“This gives an opportunity to restore homeowners’ dignity and pride where they live,” Castle resident Ken Cook said. “Millenium respects their tenants. The bottom line is that [under the current owner], we couldn’t sell or get a loan to buy new homes.”
The agreement ensures the park will be a haven of affordable housing for 55 years.
The terms of the plan, known as a Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, were more than 570 pages long, prompting some on the council to admit they had not been able to go over every page. Mayor Dennis Norton, though, gained assurances from city staff more familiar with the resolution, that the city and residents were getting a fair deal.
In exchange for certain rent control exemptions, Millenium has agreed to a fixed rate of $650 per month for middle- and low-income residents, with those classified as “extremely low-income” paying $325 per month, with the help of rental assistance provided by the city. This will cost the city more than $100,000 each year.
Rent increases will be limited by the cost of living index, which is based on annual inflation, but Millenium president George Turk said that in years of high inflation, rent would not likely jump at the maximum rate, because the money goes into a trust instead the pockets of any one person.
Rental assistance will not apply to tenants who move in after the Millenium purchase, because as Turk said, “it’s only to transition people already in the park now.”
Cook said Keh, who has been suing the city for several months to get around rent controls, would not let people move new homes into the park, also often raising rent for spaces when new tenants moved in. These and other practices plaguing residents are not allowed under the agreement between the city and Millenium.
Just before the vote, Norton asked residents in the audience if they were in favor of the agreement, receiving several replies of “yes,” and the final approval decision was showered in applause.