By BRETT WILKISON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Sonoma County Planning Commission Thursday rejected plans for a condo-style conversion of a Santa Rosa mobile home park.
Owners sought to subdivide the 191-unit Sequoia Gardens Mobile Home Park off Fulton Road, a county-controlled area within the city of Santa Rosa.
The change would give tenants the option of buying the land beneath their homes or continuing to rent. But nearly all the residents opposed the plans, fearing they’d be pushed out by high sales prices or escalating rents no longer subject to county controls.
Owners have said residents would not be adversely impacted by the conversion.
But county planning staff said the owners — an investment group called Sequoia Park Associates — failed to provide purchase and rent figures to back up that claim.
Planning staff also recommended denial of the conversion because the park’s water supply has been deemed non-potable by the state since 2009 because of higher-than-allowed levels of arsenic.
Three commissioners said the residents’ opposition and water problems were sufficient grounds for denial. Commissioner Dick Fogg, who initially opposed a straight denial, joined the majority in the final vote.
Commissioner Shawn Montoya cast the only dissent. He called the owners’ study of the issue “sufficient,” and said the required survey of park residents, which showed 164 opposed to the conversion and two in favor of it, was “tainted.” He did not elaborate.
An appeal by park owners to the Board of Supervisors is expected, though an attorney for Sequoia Park Associates said the group had not decided yet to challenge the decision.