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Tenants Want to Buy Trailer Park

The City Council promises homeowners association $20,000 toward the parcel and guidance through the purchase.


More than two months after the City Council purchased a secondhand trailer to replace Bob Lada's beat up unit, the 64-year-old veteran still sits and watches rain collect in buckets, his new home nowhere to be seen.

Lada's plight demonstrates the battle going on between residents of the Seal Beach Trailer Park and owner Richard Hall.

In January, after the city refused Hall's request to increase rent by 36% for spaces that go for $300 to $350, Hall refused to allow Lada's replacement trailer into the park.

Seal Beach Trailer Park homeowners association president Frank Boychuck called Hall's move a "blackmail tactic."

"The situation is actually quite scandalous," said Boychuck, a 10-year park resident. "We have a multimillionaire holding up a family from having a home."

A woman at Hall's office Tuesday said no one was available for comment.

Boychuck said that Hall's management of the park has been "very oppressive" and that while a resident living across from Lada was allowed to build onto his existing unit, Lada's fate remains uncertain.

Fueled by a strong interest in helping the park's long-time residents and preserving the charm of a park that features houses that incorporate trailers into the dwellings, the City Council has mobilized to help residents purchase the park.

At last week's City Council meeting, the homeowners association was promised $20,000 toward buying the park, and a council sub-committee was formed to guide residents. This is in addition to the $15,000 the city spent buying Lada's trailer.

The city and homeowners have not received a response from Hall. Boychuck is optimistic that Hall will accept a reasonable offer from the residents, who will have a nonprofit management group help with the purchase.

The 70-year-old park's unusual character is due to some mobile home owners being allowed to build around and on top of trailers. The park includes modern stucco, two-story structures as well as a tidy Victorian.

While Lada's trailer features an attached, leaking, front cabana area, a trailer across a parking lot is hidden by a well-constructed, amenity-filled home. The home was recently valued at $150,000, according to its owner.

When Hall purchased the park, it was supposed to serve low- and moderate-income tenants. City officials say he quickly tried to change the policy.

"We have a vested interest in keeping this area for low to moderate income," Mayor Paul Yost said. "Also, it's a very special place with a lot of very special people."


Alex Murashko can be reached at (714) 966-5974.

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