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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Welcome Mat Is Pulled Back for Mobile Home : Dispute: Residents call a trailer moved onto a vacant lot an eyesore. But Carol Wise hopes to stick it out and renovate the quake-damaged residence.

September 14, 1994|MARK SABBATINI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SANTA CLARITA — To Carol Wise, the triple-wide mobile home she moved to an empty lot in Saugus is her dream house, but to neighbors in more expensive housing, it is an eyesore they want hauled away.

Wise moved the mobile home, damaged by the Northridge earthquake, from the Greenbriar Mobilhome Park in Canyon Country into a quiet neighborhood last week. She said she plans extensive renovations so it will blend in with surrounding custom-built residences, including a two-car garage, a covered porch, landscaping and new windows and doors.

The mobile home is unoccupied while the work is being done.

"I honestly don't feel it will be identifiable as anything but a house," the high school teacher said.

But petitions bearing more than 100 signatures were presented to the Santa Clarita City Council Tuesday night, asking that the council order the 15-year-old mobile home removed from the lot on Barbacoa Drive. A group of four residents told council members the mobile home is "extremely decrepit."

"The rest of our homes in the area are quite lovely," said Connie Clift, a 26-year resident of the area. "This mobile home certainly does not fit into it."

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Wise put the mobile home on a lot she owns, one of four that have been vacant since the 1971 Sylmar earthquake leveled houses on the lots. Residents said they worry other mobile home owners might also try to move onto the lots, lowering the area's property values.

They protested that city officials have stated that no cosmetic changes are required for it to meet building codes.

City Planner Rich Henderson said the mobile home will meet city building and planning codes once additions such as a proper foundation and the enclosed garage are built, and all required construction permits have already been issued.

State law prohibits the city from discriminating against modular homes if they meet zoning requirements, Henderson added.

A violation of the law would have to be found for the city to be able to stop the work in progress, City Atty. Carl Newton said.

City Council members were cheered and applauded by about two dozen homeowners in the audience when the officials indicated a willingness to challenge Wise's relocation plans. The council unanimously ordered city planning staff members to study regulations for the area, and determine if the soil on the lot is sufficiently stable to support the mobile home.

The report will be discussed at the council's Sept. 27 meeting.

Councilwoman Jan Heidt said the city has spent years providing mobile home owners with enclosed areas to live, and allowing them to place mobile homes among more conventional houses is "an invasion of property rights."

"That a mobile home could be placed in a residential neighborhood . . . I can't believe it," she said.

Wise appeared surprised at the opposition, saying, "I didn't think they'd be thrilled, but I didn't expect this kind of community action." But she said she has no plans to abandon the site.

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