KINGMAN – Residents at Coyote Canyon Mobile Home Park on Route 66 were in a panic Friday afternoon after it appeared the owner of the park was moving their homes out before a deadline that had been set expired.
The residents have been frantically trying to pack their things since the park’s owners, Cindy and Wes White, notified them at the beginning of the month that the park had been sold to a company building a wind farm in the area and they had until May 1, today, to move out.
Friday afternoon it appeared the owners were going to start moving some of the trailers early, starting with the home of Lindsey Southerland.
Southerland said she and her husband had already moved a lot of their things out of the home, and she was packing up the remaining things Friday morning when she left to do some errands around noon. When she returned, she found her neighbors in an uproar, her home listing at an angle with some of its walls bowed in, and a number of her possessions, including her glass kitchen table, broken on the floor.
According to one of her neighbors, who did not wish to be named, a backhoe drove up to the mobile home and used its front-end loader to lift the front of the home. The home slid off the front-end loader and landed cockeyed on its foundation.
Southerland said the backhoe driver attempted to move the home again after she arrived. “He (White) was here all day and he didn’t say anything to me about moving the trailer,” she said.
White said he owns the home and lets his son and wife, Southerland, live there. He said he got permission from his son earlier in the week to lift the trailer to see if he could replace the tires on it so they could move it to a new location on Saturday.
“Apparently my son didn’t tell his wife,” White said.
Residents said they called the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, but deputies only arrived after residents blocked a truck carrying equipment for the wind farm.
Residents claim the Whites violated several laws when they gave them only 30 days notice to vacate the property. They point to several Arizona Revised Statutes, which state that the owner of a mobile home park must notify tenants at least 180 days before changing the use of the park, such as selling it for commercial purposes, and must create and maintain a relocation fund throughout the life of the park to help tenants move if the park closes. According to the statute, part of the rent each resident pays is supposed to be put in the fund to cover relocation expenses.
According to the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Department, the property is zoned commercial and not as a mobile home park. The park was in existence before the current ordinances were passed and its use was grandfathered in, so it’s unclear if the state statutes apply in this situation.
The Miner sought clarification on the matter from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office several times. The office acknowledged the Miner’s calls but never offered the information.
Neighbors said they have tried to get help from Community Legal Services. The Miner called the local Community Legal Services office and was directed to call its main office in Phoenix, which never responded.
White denies violating any of the residents’ rights. He said he’s helped pay for several residents to move and given away and moved at least five trailers for former residents of the park.
“I’m doing everything I can to help people,” he said. He said he didn’t charge residents rent for the month of April so that they would have some money to help with the moving expenses.
“We’re not throwing anyone out on the street. We’re trying to help them,” White said.
Tina Palomares and her husband, who own the Doll House Truck Stop nearby, have also offered to help residents by purchasing moving trucks and storage lockers to help them relocate.
“Some of these people don’t have anywhere to go,” Palomares said. “I knocked on the door of one elderly gentleman’s home and offered to rent a U-Haul and a locker for him. He said he was staying and they would have to move the home with him in it.”
There are other residents who are living on disability or Social Security and don’t have the funds to move. Nor do they want to, she said.
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