The Seattle City Council on Monday approved a one-year moratorium on any new redevelopment of mobile home parks, and plans to craft regulations that would stabilize mobile home communities.
Residents of Halcyon Mobile Home Park in North Seattle received notice in December that the trustees of the property could sell the park to a new developer.
Fearing evictions, and loss of their homes, they contacted council offices and connected with council member Kshama Sawant.
Wesley Shearer, a resident of Halcyon since 1999, told the council that the park is a community, where they get to know their neighbors and feel safe. He raises his mentally challenged granddaughter, who he said enjoys the park.
"She can rely on other people in the park...They take very good care of her, and they take care of her needs," Shearer said on Monday. "I hope you will see our needs and keep us there."
Halcyon is one of just two mobile home parks left in Seattle, at a time when the city is facing a homelessness crisis and a shortage of affordable housing. Halcyon houses seniors of ages 55 or over, many of whom appeared at City Hall in the past few weeks to say they had limited other options for housing.
The legislation—sponsored by Sawant and council member Mike O'Brien, and unanimously approved on Monday—halts any filing, processing, or approving redevelopment on mobile home parks for one year, effective immediately.
It also sets a timeline to propose a bill that would offer a more permanent solution, which will be considered in council member Rob Johnson's Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee.
Staffers at the Office of Planning and Community Development and Office of Construction and Inspections have until April to propose options for consideration, and to have the full council consider legislation by September.
The University of Washington, which is a beneficiary, decided to sell the property. While there were no development proposals or offers on the property at the time Sawant brought the issue forward, the land was still on sale and council members voted to prevent potential for redevelopment. (The developer that submitted a townhouse proposal for the land withdrew its plan, citing environmental cleanup costs, The Seattle Times reported.)
"This demonstrates what you can accomplish by building a movement and when that movement has a voice at City Hall," Sawant said Monday.