Tenants, owners clash at hearing over Langley manufactured home park

Tenants want more protection for their homes.

Fearful residents of a Langley manufactured-home park packed a Township public hearing Monday seeking security for their housing.

Residents of Cedar Creek Estates asked council to designate the seniors community a manufactured-home park in the Brookswood Official Community Plan (OCP). The land is currently zoned a manufactured-home park, but has long been designated for single-family housing in the former OCP.

“We are seniors, and we do not want to be put out on the street,” said one speaker.

But the park’s owner, Louie Bortolazzo, told council both that he has no intentions of redeveloping the park, but that he wants its designation to remain single-family.

Residents said the last few months at the park have been contentious and confusing.

Bortolazzo has offered a 10-year covenant that would prevent any re-development during that time.

Several residents who spoke interpreted that timeline not as a reprieve, but as a deadline – after which time development might proceed and they could lose their homes.

In addition, they haven’t seen the covenant, which Bortolazzo told council he has yet to draft due to the expected $20,000 in legal costs.

He wants residents’ support before he goes ahead with creating the covenant, and said he had the support of more than half, so far.

A different petition by residents, calling for the designation as a manufactured-home park under the OCP, also has signatures from more than half Cedar Creek’s residents.

Each side accused the other of lying or bullying at various times during Monday’s hearing, and Mayor Jack Froese had to call for quiet several times.

Bortolazzo noted that there was nothing preventing him from asking for a rezoning at any time now.

“Sounds like a threat,” someone in the audience shouted.

Bortolazzo denied he was threatening to redevelop.

Councillor Blair Whitmarsh asked Bortolazzo why he wants to keep the single-family designation if he plans to keep Cedar Creek Estates a mobile-home park.

“In 10 or 15 years, that plan could change,” Bortolazzo said.

The Cedar Creek residents own their manufactured homes, but rent pads from the park.

Although often called “mobile” homes, actually moving a manufactured home may be impossible or very expensive. This leads to fears in some manufactured-home parks where residents could see their homes demolished and lose tens of thousands of dollars in equity in the event of a redevelopment.

Provincial and Langley Township guidelines suggest park owners should offer buyouts or give tenants offers of first refusal for inexpensive homes within future developments when manufactured-home parks are redeveloped.

Most of Langley’s other manufactured home-parks are owned by the tenants.

Langley Township council will debate their decision at a future meeting.

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