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Palo Alto: Judge to weigh in on Buena Vista closure

Whether Palo Alto city leaders re-evaluate their 2015 decision to allow property owners to close Buena Vista Mobile Home Park will be up to a Santa Clara County judge.

Superior Court Judge Brian Walsh took the case under submission Wednesday after hearing oral arguments from attorneys representing mobile home park residents, the city of Palo Alto and property owners.

Walsh is expected to make a decision within 90 days.

Madeline Howard, an attorney representing the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park Residents Association, questioned the way the city interpreted its mobile home park closure ordinance and asked for another administrative hearing.

Howard also argued for higher relocation assistance packages for the mobile home park’s 400 mostly-low income, Latino residents, should they be evicted.

The relocation assistance does not give a monetary value to the residents’ loss of access to schools, safety and jobs, Howard said. And, the amount approved by the council will not help residents move to comparable housing.

“It doesn’t get them anywhere,” said Howard, an attorney with the Western Center on Law & Poverty.

The city’s decision should be overturned because there is no mention of actual locations Buena Vista residents could move to, Howard added.

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