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50 residents could end up homeless on the streets
The Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Parks closure would displace 50 people. - photo by RYAN BALBUENA

The fate of 50 people at the Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park may rest in the hands of the City of Manteca.

For more than a month residents at the 21-home site near the corner of Sherman Avenue and Moffat Boulevard have been virtually in the dark about the status of the plot of embattled land that they call home.

Is it going to close? Are they going to be forced to move? What’s going to happen if it shuts down?

And the feeling of impending doom only intensified last week when the State of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development posted a notice of suspension that spelled out how it indefinitely pulled the park’s operating permit – instructing the residents not to pay rent to Bay Area landlord Mahesh Gogri. 

But, legal action from Gogri against his tenants notwithstanding, the notice doesn’t mean that residents are going to find themselves tossed out onto the street in the coming days or be forced to relocate to another park.

“There are a variety of administrative things that we need to handle, and this is one of those steps,” said DHCD Codes and Standards Administrator Jim Roland. “To the residents, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be thrown out. That is not what’s going on here. This is more of an action taken against the owner for what’s going on in the entire park, not something against a single specific resident – although an issue for a resident could be what instigated the matter.”

Roland said a single complaint is what started the investigation.

Multiple health and safety code violations – primarily violating laws that restrict further subdividing the park for the purpose of accommodating recreational vehicles – were cited as the reasons for the formal step taken by Division of Codes and Standards to pull the permit.

According to Roland, inspectors felt that they had no choice but to issue the notice of suspension after conditions failed to improve. The department posted five-day non-occupancy permits on Jan. 11 in an attempt to bring the park into compliance, and while some tenants tried to do their part, Roland said, the majority seemed to ignore it.

“Our department had no choice but to follow our administrative duties,” he said. “Conditions in the park failed to improve, and the units that were tagged didn’t come into compliance.

“Largely the problems are RVs that are substandard – these are all health and safety related issues – and give them five days and a chance to bring it into compliance or abate the issue. That didn’t happen.”

The matter will now progress to the next level where Gogri will get a chance to once again bring the park into compliance with regulations and get his annual operating permit reinstated. If that doesn’t happen, the issue will likely be kicked back to the City of Manteca since the land use agreement between the land owner and the local jurisdiction will then officially be in violation.

Steps taken at that point could lead to closure.