Midvale asks owner not to redevelop mobile-home park
Mayor JoAnn Seghini and the Midvale City Council have sent a letter to a company affiliated with Ivory Homes asking that it not push out residents of a manufactured-home park in favor of a high-density apartment complex.
Dozens of senior citizens at Applewood Park near the TRAX line at 7500 South and 200 West fear that ICO Multifamily Holdings LLC, which bought the 7.7-acre park in December 2011 for $2.5 million, will do just that. ICO shares an address with Ivory Homes and is owned by the same principals.
But Bolton Property Management, which oversees the park for ICO, told residents in a recent letter that it has no immediate plans to close the park.
In November, the company raised the rent from $320 to $390 per space. It will raise the rent again in June, to $460.
Nancy Hilton, who has lived at Applewood with her husband, Ken, since 1997, said the increase will be hard on residents. "It's going to have a great impact," she said. "Most all of us are seniors on fixed incomes."
Many of Applewood's residents believe they are being pushed out to make way for a high-density development.
Because it is expensive to move the homes and because there are few such parks left, the majority of residents would have to walk away from their investment, said Georgia Buckley, of the Utah Coalition of Manufactured Homeowners.
But Cory Tanner, the owner of Bolton Property Management, said in a Jan. 17 letter to residents that the company is not pushing them out in favor of a development project. "Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.
The rent of $460 per month is still 13 percent below market rates, Tanner noted.
"Whether this property remains a manufactured-home park or at some point becomes quality affordable housing of another form, we want it to be a great place to live," the letter said. "We can assure you that if a change is contemplated, we will provide you at least a two-year advance notice."
ICO has submitted no formal development plans to Midvale. But at the time it purchased the property, the company submitted to the city a concept plan that outlined a 186-unit apartment complex on the site.
In the letter to ICO, Midvale officials said Applewood should be maintained. "The loss of this neighborhood to redevelopment activities would have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods and the overall fabric of the city."
But in an interview, the mayor conceded that the acreage is zoned to accommodate a high-density housing complex, like the one outlined in ICO's concept plant.
Recently, the residents of the 56 homes at Applewood formed a homeowners' association. In some cases, such organizations have been able to buy the parks where they live, said Mark Lundgren, of Utah Residential Owned Properties.
The organization is part of a national network that helps manufactured-home owners make such purchases, usually without government assistance, he said. But when Lundgren approached Ivory Homes and its affiliate with an offer to buy the land, he was informed it was not for sale.
The letter from Bolton Property Management was "insulting," Hilton said. "I resented the letter. It didn't give me any comfort."
But Hilton said she was pleased with the letter from Seghini and the City Council. "It was a positive thing. I don't know if it will carry a lot of weight with [ICO]; they'd have to have a conscience," she said. firstname.lastname@example.org