Palo Alto City Council approves closure of mobile-home park

The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park sits along El Camino Real and is considered an affordable option for its hundreds of residents.

Jenny Cruz lives with five family members in a 3-bedroom unit and says if the property is sold, she'll likely have to move to Sunnyvale or San Jose.

"Palo Alto does not even compare to other cities," said Cruz. "It's about schools- it's about everything. It's about work--I work in Palo's 10 minutes from here."

Cruz was one of more than 150 people who attended a special hearing Tuesday night where the issue finally moved forward after two years of debate.

"That saying of when one door closes another one will open? The doors can not open unless we vote on that tonight and that's got to be a very hard pill to swallow," said City Councilwoman Liz Kniss.

Park resident Umbelina Martinez worries her three daughters won't be able to stay in the Palo Alto school system.

"Now I was hoping my girls would have something much better than I had," said Martinez. "It's like losing home, losing job, losing school--losing everything. How do you start again?"

"I don't want to leave my school because I really like the things we do there," said her daughter, 9-year-old Elissa Guzman.

By law, the council can't stop any sale, but only make sure residents get a fair relocation package.

The council requested updated appraisals but say the owner has a constitutional right to sell the property.

KTVU spoke with longtime property owner Joe Jisser, who lives in San Jose, right after the decision.

"It's just been a long time coming," said Jisser. "So it's not easy for either party. So we'll see how it goes."

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian still hopes to prevent the eviction of 400 people and maintain affordable housing option.

"My hope is the City and County and non-profit partner can pull together the resources to put a fair-market offer on the table that will be satisfactory to the owner if he chooses to sell," said Supervisor Simitian.

The City of Palo Alto expects it to take a few weeks for the updated appraisals of the mobile homes to take place, which has to happen before any 6-month eviction notice is given..