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Judge Affirms Park Eviction

El Morro mobile home dwellers are up against a deadline for conversion to a public campground.

[Article from the Los Angeles Times 12-21-2004]

By Kimi Yoshino

An Orange County judge has denied a request by residents of the El Morro Village mobile home park to block their eviction from Crystal Cove State Park, a decision the residents plan to appeal this week.

In his ruling Friday, Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Sundvold said the state has complied with the law and given "more than adequate notice" to residents of the pristine coastline spot that park officials want to convert into a public campground.

Many residents signed their original 20-year leases in 1979, when the Irvine Co. sold the land to the state. In 1999, the mobile home park residents were given a five-year lease extension, which expires Dec. 31. Some residents who have agreed to leave have been given extensions until April 1.

The residents argued, as part of their lawsuit against the pending change of status, that the state should renew their leases, but Sundvold ruled that "there is no right to renew."

"The lessees were sent a series of letters with regard to their departure," Sundvold wrote. "They were clearly not surprised that their leases were expiring at the end of the year."

Gerald Kline, the attorney representing the residents, said he will file a petition this week for a writ of mandate, asking for a hearing that could vacate Sundvold's ruling.

"This case isn't over," he said, although he called the ruling "an unmitigated disaster" for his clients.

"Judge Sundvold is a gentleman, but ... there's no question in my mind that he's completely on the side of the state," Kline said.

For many residents, their lawsuit -- and a pending federal suit saying removal of the mobile homes would harm the environment -- is the last chance to keep their homes on 32 coastal acres along El Moro Canyon.

But state officials say it's time to open up the park to the public, especially when the state can't keep up with the demand for beachfront campgrounds.

"For us," said state parks spokesman Roy Stearns, "I think [the ruling] further confirms that we have followed procedures properly -- chapter, line and verse -- all throughout this process, going all the way back until 1979."


[Clips from original newspaper articles appear here for educational purposes and purposes of comment, rather than commercial purposes. They are reprinted under the fair use doctrine of international copyright law. Copyright Los Angeles Times]



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