The San Mateo Daily Journal reports here on a coming battle with the California Coastal Commission that should alarm coastal mobilehome park owners and residents alike.
Back in 2013, a mobilehome park in the City of Pacifica received permits to repair its infrastructure and replace aging mobilehomes, from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The park also received a determination from the City of Pacifica that the work was exempt from a Coastal Development Permit, under Pacifica’s approved Local Coastal Program.
More than two years later, in 2015, the California Coastal Commission disagrees (See, Coastal Commission letter dated November 4, 2015). After admonishing the City of Pacifica, the Commission takes aim at the park–calling the repairs “complete redevelopment” and threatening fines until the mobilehome park obtains a Coastal Development Permit. Four important take aways:
1) The Commission Letter Ignores its Conflict with HCD’s Jurisdiction. The Commission apparently ignores that the California Department of Housing and Community Development regulates mobilehome parks in California, under Cal. Health and Safety Code Sec. 18300, as part of a comprehensive statewide regime concerning mobilehome parks. Easy mobilehome replacement is an intrinsic function of mobilehome parks nationwide-more akin to parking a car than building a house.
2) The Pacifica mobilehome park is being asked to start at square one. “Complete redevelopment” means the Commission argues the park is a brand new project-potentially forcing the park to surrender its right to exist (known as a vested right) and start over. This means the Commission could demand new conditions and exactions, such as access, fees, restrictions on design and shoreline protective devices, or threaten the denial of essential repairs.
3) Certified Local Coastal Programs are under attack by the Commission. The Coastal Commission takes its position that even though the City of Pacifica has an approved, “Certified” Local Coastal Program, which specifically exempts repair and rehabilitation, the Coastal Commission has an unwritten appeal right-despite Cal. Pub. Res. Code Sec. 30519.
4) The Commission’s delay of two years is unreasonable, and undermines any confidence in local exemption determinations under the Coastal Act. Cities with LCPs routinely determine that projects are exempt from Coastal Development Permit requirements. If a permit were issued, the Commission only has ten days from notice to appeal. However, as no permit was issued, the Commission provides no justification for its two year delay-instead telling the City to make a voluntary exemption petition to the Coastal Commission under 14 Cal. Code of Regs. Sec. 13569. This comment is not only unreasonable, but is inconsistent with the rights granted to cities with LCP’s under the Coastal Act.
Alex Maniscalco is an attorney with The Loftin Firm. For questions relating to this blog post or any other California real estate, land use, corporate, or estate planning matter, contact The Loftin Firm at 760-814-9649.