Mobile home owners face eviction
as park owners cash out
Times have changed. Sarasota was once proud of having the World's Greatest Trailer City. This postcard from the 1930s shows the trailers, the courthouse, Hotel Sara Sota and Longboat Key in the distance.
Shady Haven Mobile Home Park's residents pay $325 a month for a slice of paradise on the banks of Lemon Bay in Englewood.
There is little chance they can find anything comparable if the Sarasota County Commission approves a zoning change for a $100 million marina village.
It's the kind of decision government officials across Florida are being asked to make more and more often -- one that pits developers who stand to make millions against mobile home owners, many on fixed incomes, living on land they don't own.
Guess who wins?
At Shady Haven, park owners Mary and Klaus Alsteid stand to get nearly $7.8 million from the sale, while the homeowners will get $1,375 from the Florida Mobile Home Relocation fund to move.
"This is America," said developer Mark Flannagan, and people have a right to sell their land. "Affordable housing doesn't belong on the water."
A little-enforced state law gives county officials the teeth to say no, but the law hasn't stopped people across Florida from being evicted so luxury homes can replace mobile homes.
Read the Sarasota Herald-Tribune story here.
See previous posts about the lack of affordable housing here and here.