Silverthorne mobile home park residents concerned about displacement after land sale
Cottonwood Court and D&D mobile home parks to be redeveloped into high-density housing
A group of Silverthorne residents who live in two mobile home parks came to the Silverthorne Town Council’s Wednesday, Oct. 27, meeting to express concerns about the parks being sold for redevelopment.
Residents of the Cottonwood Court Mobile Home Park, 772 Blue River Parkway, and D&D Mobile Home Park, 780 Blue River Parkway, were recently told the land under their homes had been sold, meaning they soon have to leave their homes.
Peter Bakken, executive director of Mountain Dreamers, a nonprofit that advocates for immigrants, said residents were given until June 2, 2022, to relocate their homes off the property or possibly pay for them to be demolished.
“Our community stands to lose these workers since they most likely will not be able to find affordable housing here and may have to leave the community if they have to relocate,” Bakken said during public comment.
Bakken said there are about 15 homes in the parks — eight of which are resident-owned — housing about 40 people. He said most of the homes are older and can’t realistically be moved.
Mobile home parks offer partial ownership, where residents own the home but not the land. Mobile homes depreciate in value, unlike traditional homes, and moving them can be cost-prohibitive, upward of $10,000, according to Colorado Center on Law and Policy senior attorney Jack Regenbogen, who was interviewed in previous Summit Daily News reporting.
If the mobile homes aren’t moved, Bakken said it’s possible the owners will have to pay for demolition. That could cost about $7,000 or $8,000, former Kingdom Park Court mobile home park landowner Rob Rosenfeld told the Summit Daily in 2019.
Residents who came to speak at the meeting simply asked council to help them get more time before they have to leave and to support them in any way they can.
Resident Ernesto Valenzuela said he has lived in the U.S. for 20 years and has worked with the same construction company in Summit County for 14 years. He doesn’t speak English, which he said will make it harder for his family to find a new home.
“Here in this country, I found the best opportunity, and it was here in Silverthorne,” Valenzuela said through an interpreter. “… It’s very hard for us to lose our place (because) we’re very happy and comfortable.”
Valenzuela said he has never stepped foot in a court or even received a ticket and that he just got his driver’s license the day of the council meeting. He said he wanted council to know that he and his neighbors are here to work in the county.
“I’m very thankful, personally, for this country,” Valenzuela said. “… What I want is just an opportunity to demonstrate that we’re here to work. And if we can have a home, we can be friendly with everyone and respect this country that is very important for me and for my kids.”
Another resident said she is a single mother and spent more than a year working two jobs to save up for her home in the mobile home park.
The parks were purchased by Blue River GP LLC on June 2 for just under $2.5 million. The LLC filed its formation paperwork with the Secretary of State in February and is registered out of Denver.
Lina Lesmes, planning manager for the town of Silverthorne, said there are not yet any official development applications with the town for the property but that the town has seen some conceptual plans.
“The plan they showed us was for high-density residential development, which is what we’re seeing across that corridor and what is allowed by the zoning,” Lesmes wrote in an email.
After public comment, Silverthorne Mayor Ann-Marie Sandquist said while she isn’t quite sure what the council can do to help, it is something they are concerned about and something they will continue talking about.
“It’s a tough situation, and we’re definitely aware of it,” Sandquist said. “… You guys are part of our community, and I can’t promise anything, but we will definitely be talking about it, and we very much appreciate you guys coming tonight.”
The residents have already been in contact with the Family & Intercultural Resource Center and the Summit Combined Housing Authority, and Sandquist asked them to keep the town updated as they continue to look for solutions.
“Unfortunately, as it stands right now, they are being turned out into the street and possibly made homeless to make way for — as far as I know — a luxury condo development,” Bakken said. “We’re very hopeful that the town of Silverthorne, the Silverthorne and Summit community, and the property developer will work with us on this issue, so we can all do the right thing by our neighbors facing the loss of their homes.”
A representative for Blue River GP listed on the Secretary of State’s website did not respond to a request for comment.
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