Score another broadside into the city's floundering legal armada: The residents of De Anza Harbor Resort have been granted a preliminary injunction barring the city from moving ahead with plans to toss them off city-controlled land in Mission Bay Park now that a 50-year lease there has expired.
Superior Court Judge Charles R. Hayes issued the ruling Dec. 12 in favor of the more than 1,100 mobile-home park residents. In siding with the residents, Hayes's ruling noted: "Plaintiff has established a reasonable probability of success on the merits."
"The court's ruling," said Tim Tatro, one of the residents' attorneys, "gives the many elderly and disabled residents of the park some much needed relief from the city's scare tactics and threats of eviction [and] vindicates our position that California's mobile-home residency laws cannot be skirted-even by the city of San Diego in its desire to develop a 600-room hotel on the banks of Mission Bay."
This week, city officials notified De Anza attorneys that they will present oral arguments Dec. 19 to try to get the ruling overturned, but such moves rarely alter the outcome, which effectively stops the city from evicting residents while a class-action lawsuit on the matter proceeds during the next year to 18 months, Tatro said.
"We have won the day," proclaimed Ernie Abbit, president of the park's homeowners association, on the residents' information hotline. "You all can celebrate. Enjoy it to the fullest."
Association attorneys convinced the court that the city has failed to comply with state laws governing the closure of mobile-home parks, including its refusal to prepare a tenant-impact report that is intended to protect park residents from undue hardship and assist with relocation. Some park residents have said they have nowhere else to go. No mobile-home park spaces are currently available in San Diego County, the attorneys said.
In their notice, city officials said they will also argue that the city should receive rent directly from the hundreds of residents who are refusing to accept the city's settlement offer of $4,000 to $8,000 to leave the park. In its filing, the cash-strapped city is requesting total control over how that money is spent.
"We will oppose the city's contentions," Tatro's partner, Peter Zamoyski, told CityBeat this week.