California RV Park Tenants Face Closure
Kalvin Courts lives a comfortable lifestyle as a retired military veteran, enjoying daily walks with his wife and their six miniature dogs around a neighborhood full of familiar faces.
He and his wife, Linda, have parked in space 41 of the Santa Maria Pines Campground in Santa Maria, Calif., on and off for three of the 22 years they’ve lived in a motorhome.
Folks who fill the 42 space, six-acre RV park, say that technically no one is a resident. They pay fees to stay for varying periods of time, the Santa Maria Times reported.
“Temporary tenant” is the preferred term, but the title will be moot if the park is sold to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.
District officials last month named the RV park and five vacant adjoining acres as a “potential and available” location for a new $15 million continuation high school with an emphasis on technical careers.
Barring any problems stemming from recent state environmental testing, acquiring land could take seven to nine months. Results won’t be back for weeks, officials have said.
But if the school is in, the RVs are out.
“It really makes me mad,” Courts said last week, noting that most tenants found out about the possible sale from signs the state posted about site testing.
The RV park, which fills up with visitors for the summer and special events, has been nestled between Broadway and Highway 101 since about 1975, according to city planning records. Ownership has passed through various hands over the years, so the actual establishment date might be before that.
Property owner Robert Montgomery, who’s based in Santa Barbara, said last week that tenants would have at least two years before they got the boot if the sale goes through, because it would take that long to plan the school.
Montgomery took control of the property about four years ago, and said he wasn’t looking to sell until the opportunity came along.
He said the potential time frame for closure hasn’t been shared with tenants or the two park employees, however.
Last week, many wondered aloud how long they have until they have to find another RV park. Or, worse, how long until they are homeless.
Cindy Brown, of San Diego, led her two friendly dogs — Dusty and Tanner — along the pavement near the park’s pool, spa and playground. The path is one she’s taken often since moving to the park last May with her husband, Cary, who has been doing contract work at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Like Brown’s husband, many tenants are contractors at Vandenberg, in nearby oil fields or on the Santa Maria Bridge project.
“I really like it here,” Brown said, adding that she and her husband would like to move to the Central Coast if he finds permanent work. They had planned to stay at the park until that was figured out.
The other RV park in town, Santa Maria RV Park and Apartments at 1335 N. Broadway, has only 23 RV spaces and seven mobile home lots.
“For me, personally, I’ll be sad if they close it,” Brown said. “But I understand how it goes. It’s going to be hard for people that are here.”