Mobilehome Park Conversions Need Coastal Permits

A coastal mobilehome park

Conversion of coastal mobilehome parks from rental space to resident-owned requires Coastal Act approval as a development, the California Supreme Court held Thursday.

The 170-unit mobilehome park in Palisades Bowl must comply with the Coastal Act and the Mello Act for coastal development permits when they convert the rented spaces to resident ownership.  The court voted 6-1 to side with the court of appeal decision in the case.

The mobilehome park sued the city of Los Angeles for rejecting the conversion application because it lacked approval from the Coastal Commission.

The ruling will mean in some areas near the ocean, property owners may be required to obtain a local permit from the city or county involved and a second permit from the Coastal Commission.

“The act requires a coastal development permit for ‘any development’ in the coastal zone,” wrote Justice Kathryn Werdegar.  And the court took that to include any change in density or intensity of land use.

Development “is not restricted to physical alteration of the land,” the court said.

This would apply to the subdivision of the land from the mobilehome park to individual space ownership.

While the conversion in Palisades might not immediately affect the density or intensity of land use, but it does not preclude that possibility in the future.  It could include such things as blocking public access to coastal areas, the court said.

Justice Joyce Kennard dissented.  “Because subdividing a mobilehome park to convert it to resident ownership does not involve a change in the density or intensity of the property’s use, it is not a ‘development’ within the meaning of the Coastal Zone Act, and therefore it is not subject to regulation under that act,” she said.

Case:  Pacific Palisades Bowl Mobilehome Estates v. City of Los Angeles, S187243




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