Lacey mobile home park is not for sale, but residents still want protection

Steve Bloom/

Despite resident concerns, the Mountain Greens mobile home park in Lacey is not for sale, an owner representative said Friday.

That’s according to Richard Delaney, president of West Coast Mobile Home Parks, a Bay Area business that manages mobile home parks, including Mountain Greens in the 5200 block of 55th Avenue Southeast.

In brief comments on Friday, Delaney said the property owner, Joseph Tobin, does not intend to sell.

Still, it’s the possibility that has residents concerned, said longtime Mountain Greens resident Frank Ellerbroek, who late last year collected signatures for a petition and filled out the paperwork to see if the city’s Planning Commission would consider a new zoning classification for mobile home parks.

The park currently is zoned low-density residential, meaning that if it were sold, it could be redeveloped into single-family housing.

Ellerbroek said his impetus to seek a rezone is twofold: He believes Mountain Greens is in an area that could potentially be attractive to developers — it’s near Rainier Vista Park and area shopping — and although some people of means live at Mountain Greens, there also are those who live on $950 a month and pay $700 in rent. If the mobile home park is sold, those residents living on fixed incomes could have nowhere to go.

“I just feel we needed to make some kind of attempt,” said Ellerbroek, who collected 117 signatures for his petition. Mountain Greens has 158 residents, he said.

Peace of mind is important, Ellerbroek said. “I would feel more comfortable not having to look over our shoulders,” he said.

Included in the paperwork submitted to Lacey was a Tumwater housing example. In 2009, the city approved a manufactured home park zone.

Similar to the situation in Lacey, mobile home park residents in Tumwater approached the city about a new zoning designation and the city council was receptive to it. The 13-year-old ordinance cited state data which touched on the dilemma faced by mobile home park residents.

“Average mobile/manufactured home park closures between 1989 and 2002 were five per year in Washington. Average closures between 2003 and 2008 were 14 per year in Washington,” the ordinance reads.

The new zoning designation applied to six mobile home parks, but two of the six mobile home park property owners later sued the city over the adoption of the ordinance. Tumwater ultimately prevailed in court, said Mike Matlock, director of the city’s Community Development department.

The manufactured home park zone in Tumwater does allow for other single-family housing, but only if it takes advantage of the existing mobile home park lots. The zoning does not allow for the park to be redeveloped into new lots, he said.

Lacey resident Ellerbroek raised the prospect of a moratorium for Mountain Greens. Lacey Planning Commission Manager Ryan Andrews acknowledged that city council-approved moratoriums have happened before, but he also clarified that moratoriums are tied to zoning, not specific projects, he said.

Since Mountain Greens is zoned low density residential, a moratorium would not only apply to Mountain Greens, but to all low density residential zoning in the city, which represents about 40 percent of the zoning in Lacey. He doubts the council would approve such a far-reaching moratorium.

Andrews also acknowledged that the Mountain Greens request did not get on the Planning Commission’s work plan for 2022, so their next shot at it would be in 2023.

Lacey council member Carolyn Cox wants to see the city help Mountain Greens.

“They are interested in having us pursue the park preservation plan,” Cox said at a recent council work session. “I’d like to see us put some effort into at least trying to help them out.”