Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mobile Home Standoff Closure Snags Owners in Feud

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mobile Home Standoff Closure Snags Owners in Feud

Article excerpt

JACKSONVILLE BEACH --- Remaining tenants of Villa Rosa Mobile Home Park have less than 10 days to vacate, but some may hold out, raising questions about the owner's obligation to continue providing utilities.

It may take a judge to figure it out.

Meanwhile, Bob and Jacqui Poland, the owners of the property at 1500 Beach Blvd., say they have no current prospective buyers.

Although the mobile home park is about to close, approximately 20 of the original 85 families have yet to move. Several of them have no plans to do so, said Jacqui Poland, and one tenant recently told her he won't budge unless he's evicted. All tenants were notified a year ago they would have until Dec. 10 to get out.

Meanwhile, a consumer advocate threatened Poland with possible arrest Nov. 20 to make her restore water to a resident who was behind in her rent. Poland promptly turned the water back on after being told it was against the law to shut it off, even if the tenant hadn't paid rent.

The present situation spun out of Home Depot's bid to build a $14 million store on the site and Poland's desire to sell the mobile home park, even though Home Depot has backed out.

In March, the Jacksonville Beach City Council rejected a land-use amendment for the home improvement center. The 6-1 vote came after several residents and neighbors testified that a Home Depot would increase traffic on Beach Boulevard, in part by drawing customers from west of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Villa Rosa residents cheered the council's vote. But the council's decision didn't keep them in the park.

In fact, it nixed a relocation settlement that would have split $150,000 between 40 families to help them move --- a deal that was contingent on the council's approval of the land-use amendment.

The Polands stuck with their decision to sell the park, even though Home Depot is no longer interested and they have no prospects at this time.

Now, questions remain about what responsibility the Polands may have if some residents refuse to move before the mobile home park closes.

Don Freeman, an attorney for Jacksonville Legal Aid Inc., who is representing the tenants, said the matter could end up in court. He thinks the Polands are obligated to provide water, maintenance and other services until a court orders their eviction. And that could take up to three months.

"At this point we're preparing for the worst," Freeman said.

Roberta Zimmer and her mother aren't waiting for that to happen. They moved their mobile home out of Villa Rosa to a new place in Atlantic Beach on Nov. 22.

Zimmer said she couldn't move soon enough and she's concerned for those who remain.

"A lot of people still don't know what they're going to do," Zimmer said.

Zimmer and her mother came home from work Nov. …

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