SeaTac mobile home residents appeal relocation plan

The Firs Mobile Home Park is now the center of a fight between low-income housing advocates and city officials.

SEATAC, Wash. -- An appeal was filed Monday against a proposal to relocate dozens of families from the Firs Mobile Home Park and make way for a pair of hotels.

City officials said the appeal now moves the relocation plan, required by state law, to a Hearing Examiner.

"There's concerns about whether the process has been fair and adequate," said attorney Omar Barraza, who is representing the homeowner's association. "We do not believe the city has fully considered, or that the owner presented a plan that covered all the things they're required to."

In particular, Barraza said the city and homeowner made no effort to get information on people actually living in the part to determine the feasibility of relocating them.

City Manager Joseph Scorcio said Monday the "city is not responsible" for helping relocate residents. That belongs with the state.

Mobile home park relocation plans all need to be approved by Washington's Department of Commerce.  According to the department, more than 1,800 "spaces" have been closed since 2007.  In 2017, the state is expecting to lose more than 200, with almost all coming from King County.

"When one of these communities close, it's for development," said Greg Blount with the Manufactured Housing Community Preservationists. "It's not for people who can't afford to relocate their lifestyle."

Advocates said the larger issue is not the closure of mobile home parks, but the fact that new ones are not being built or included in growth management plans.  Frequently, according to Blount, that means mobile home owners lose their investment because their house cannot be moved and it has lost its worth.

"The city is in a neutral position," said Scorcio, "The state needs to step up."

Barazza disagrees, saying, "The city can do a lot if it chooses to."

Attempts to reach the landowner, Jong Park, were not returned Monday.

Copyright 2016 KING


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