Another mobile home park in the county braces for changes – The Crested Butte News
Three Rivers Resort Raises Rent, Eliminating 1/3 of Hospitality Sites
[ By Katherine Nettles ]
A relatively small and quiet mobile home park above the Three Rivers Resort in Almont will undergo drastic changes over the next 12 months that will displace a dozen or more local residents. The park owners intend to increase rent by 57% in January and will change the use of one-third of the property in September 2023 to allow for the replacement of water infrastructure and other improvements, thus removing 14 mobile home units from the park. Mark Schumacher, owner of the park since 1983, says he struggled with the decision and intends to negotiate compensation with those displaced. Some residents who will be affected say they will likely have to leave the valley.
Three Rivers Resort Mobile Home Park is home to about 60 people, according to Schumacher. There are 44 mobile homes, 11 of which Schumacher owns and uses to house its employees. According to Gunnison County regulations, he says other units are limited to two residents each.
Schumacher informed tenants earlier this month that rent will increase on January 1, 2023 from $400 per month to $700, and he informed tenants in the first row of the three-row park that their home sites will suffer a change of use and will no longer be rented as of September 1, 2023.
Schumacher cited the recently passed Colorado House Bill 1287 titled “Protections for Mobile Home Residents” which takes effect October 1, 2022, as the main reason for the notifications and changes. “The legislative climate in Colorado has unfortunately become very hostile to owners of mobile home parks,” Schumacher wrote in a letter to all park tenants Aug. 4. He said the new legislation fosters an acrimonious relationship between landlords and residents, and it will now be harder for them to manage the community and impose or enforce rules and regulations to maintain cleanliness and uphold property values. people. “Many of you are not just residents, but friends, former employees and other good acquaintances.”
Regarding rent increases, Schumacher recently said in public comments at Gunnison County Commissioners’ meetings and again stated in his letter to all tenants that it was about being proactive with a view of a possible rent control provision in the future. Gov. Jared Polis vetoed that aspect of HB-1287 this spring, but Schumacher said he thinks it’s coming. “Rent increases are necessitated not just by the past few years of onerous and relentless regulation, but by the shadow of more looming threats,” he wrote. He noted that the current monthly rent of $400 also seems well below market value, based on other rentals in the area and RV parks averaging $1,840 per month (utilities included) in Gunnison County.
In a separate August 3 letter to tenants in the park’s front row, Schumacher informed residents that they would lose their homes next year. He described the infrastructure changes needed to replace a water system and “other infrastructure needs and improvements that we intend to make using the affected area.” He also cited legislative pressure. “We need to close part of the park to ensure that we can operate the park in accordance with all new laws and regulations,” according to the letter. “The Legislature also changed the structure of our relationship in ways we hadn’t anticipated…when we created our rent rates. We must therefore provide this notice at that time, so that we can avoid the unreasonable and substantial payment requirements that the legislator is trying to impose on future closures and changes of use.
For example, Schumacher says nine of the 11 front-row units are not permitted to be moved anywhere in Gunnison County under Gunnison County Land Use Regulations. The Colorado Legislature in 2008 passed regulations that restricted the movement of mobile homes built before 1976 (“pre-HUD”), and Gunnison County did not repeal this regulation. Schumacher and his sons, who became partners of Three Rivers Resort this year, own one of these mobile homes in the front row. “This right of ownership was taken away from these owners without notice. Units cannot even be moved within the same park,” he said.
A meeting was held on August 7 to discuss the changes with current tenants, and many of them are now trying to figure out where to go and if they can stay in the Gunnison Valley. Several attendees reported that Schumacher offered to pay them each $7,500 for the loss of their home site, and there seems to be mixed feelings about understanding Schumacher’s position and skepticism about his intentions to the first row which will be free of all mobile homes next year, and offer impressive mountain views.
Thornton Reese is one of the front row tenants and says that while he is in fact ready to leave the Gunnison Valley anyway, he is worried about many other tenants.
Reese has been in the area for more than 10 years, having worked at Western Colorado University and retiring about three years ago. He says the community is nice and Schumacher has been a savvy landlord who keeps the neighborhood nice. “There are a lot of older people coming over for the summer,” he says of the seasonal residents.
He says he’s not surprised by the notice, even though he was unaware that Schumacher had been discussing his plans for the water system and the rent increase for several weeks. “It’s definitely a business decision on his part and he’s a good businessman,” Reese says of his owner.
Schumacher confirms that of 44 residents who are not his employees, eight are out-of-state retirees who only use their units in the summer. “The other 25 residents are a mix of local workers and retirees,” he says.
There is no clear plan on what will be done with the vacated row once the infrastructure works are completed, but those currently residing there appear to have no choice but to find alternative accommodation and abandon their mobile homes.
Some of the tenants were present in the park on Monday afternoon August 8 after the meeting the day before. Several declined to comment Crested Mound Newsand others commented but wished to remain anonymous.
James Krause, or “JD” has lived in the valley for about 20 years and works in property maintenance and snow removal. He bought a front row mobile home unit at Three Rivers Resort Park two years ago after renting various locations in Crested Butte South, Ohio Creek and Almont Resort. He says his purchase price was $10,000 for his mobile home and he put an extra $10,000 to $15,000 into it, thinking he was investing in a long-term home. “I had a new bathroom installed, a new furnace, I redid the laundry room and the bedroom and I was about to put on a new roof,” says JD. He says there was never any discussion of plans that would uproot the first row of houses until they got the notices this month.
JD says $7,500, which Schumacher offered verbally at the meeting but has yet to put in writing, “would barely cover my moving costs.” He clarified that there is no new land to move into, “although we can move units. And $7,500 isn’t a fair buyout when units sold within six months for over $70,000.
Schumacher says HB-1287, which Gunnison County Commissioner Liz Smith testified in support of, would cost Three Rivers about $1,285,500 to evacuate all front-row units, between the price of evaluation and disposal costs.
JD says the compensation offer only applies to tenants who leave before May 1, 2023, and after that date residents will not receive any compensation. Schumacher says he is working on the legal details but intends to negotiate with any displaced owners. “Some [are] being paid more than they bought the house for [and] a little less depending on the status and timing of the sale transaction,” he said. Schumacher will also pay to dispose of any mobile homes that cannot be moved.
Commissioner Smith said the role played by Gunnison County commissioners in supporting the legislation was to advocate for stronger tenant rights regarding mobile home park sales, such as the right of first refusal, and measures to protect tenants when the Ministry of Local Affairs cited the mobile home. park owners for violating the health and safety of their tenants. “We have not formally weighed in on rent stabilization or compensation. I find it very unfortunate that Mark and I did not have this conversation earlier in the process of developing this bill. Many other mobile home park owners were involved,” she said. She also noted that compensation for rent was not part of the bill signed by the governor.
“It’s a nuanced and difficult subject. I am sensitive to the challenges Mark faces, and some people will remain good performers and others will exploit the opportunity to circumvent new regulations. The narrative that’s used here doesn’t strike me as particularly fair,” she said. “As I understand there are ways to fix the infrastructure without moving the houses. In conversations we had with Mark, he observed that there would be a move at some point. From my point of view , there is a way to set up infrastructure in a different way without displacing people These are business choices that people make – and you can’t have it both ways when you’re working for your own benefit and that you are trying to circumvent regulations in the best interests of others.
Like Reese and many others, JD described the park as a pleasant living situation where people generally mind their own business, take care of their place, and take care of each other. “It’s pretty quiet and peaceful and we enjoy our view,” he says. Most of his work is at Trapper’s/Wildcat outside of Crested Butte, and he says getting around the valley would be too expensive due to the expense of gas and using his truck on the mileage. “After being passed so many times, my best option at this point is probably not in this valley,” he concluded.