Mar 23, 2023 - News

Phoenix provides funding but won't stop mobile home park demolition

Illustration of Phoenix City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Phoenix City Council voted Wednesday to spend $2.5 million to assist residents of three mobile home parks in finding new housing but stopped short of supporting a controversial zoning move that might have allowed residents to stay.

  • The parks are scheduled to close in the next two months to be redeveloped. Residents will be evicted if they don't move willingly.

State of play: The council's decision came after more than four hours of emotional testimony from park residents facing possible eviction.

  • Children who missed school to attend the meeting, seniors who lived in the parks for decades and parents afraid their families will be homeless begged the council to stop the redevelopment.

Why it matters: Mobile homes are among few affordable housing options left in metro Phoenix. Despite their name, they are difficult to relocate, meaning residents are often left without housing when parks close.

The intrigue: Council members Yassamin Ansari, Laura Pastor, Betty Guardado and Carlos Garcia pushed their colleagues to approve a zoning overlay on the parks that would prevent land owners from redeveloping without special council approval.

Yes, but: City legal staff told the council the zoning change would violate a state law that protects private property owners.

  • Ansari, Pastor, Guardado and Garcia said though a zoning change might be illegal, offering relief to residents in a dire situation is worth the risk.

What they're saying: "It's just misleading to tell people we can ignore the law," Mayor Kate Gallego said.

What's next: In addition to providing $2.5 million in federal COVID relief funding, council directed staff to look into ways to discourage future mobile home displacement and encourage more mobile home park development.


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