Sierra Vista, Ariz.—Sierra Vista residents living in RVs in the Cloud 9 mobile home park will be allowed to keep their homes in place according to a letter from the city attorney sent late yesterday. Attorneys at the Institute for Justice (IJ), who were prepared to sue the city on behalf of the residents, were informed that the city intends to suspend enforcement of orders it sent demanding that owners move their RVs. The orders will remain suspended as the Sierra Vista Planning and Zoning Commission explores amendments to the city code that could allow the homes to permanently remain in place.
“It is a huge relief to property owners and tenants that they will not be forced to move their homes,” said IJ Senior Attorney Erica Smith. “The city’s attempt to kick people off their property was unjust and unconstitutional. The RVs in question were some of the most well-kept homes in the subdivision and we hope that the Zoning Commission does the sensible thing and allows them to stay permanently. If not, we’ll stand with the residents and protect their rights in court.”
Several residents living in RVs received a notice from the city in late July telling them they had to move within 30 days. After being contacted by residents, IJ wrote a letter to the city informing it that its actions were likely unconstitutional. Last week, IJ followed up with a second letter informing the city that it would sue on behalf of residents if the city did not withdraw its removal orders. IJ will continue to monitor the city’s actions to ensure that residents’ rights are protected.
“This is such a relief. This has been such a worry, and it feels really good knowing I can stay here for now,” said Georgia Myers, who is 72 and who has rented the land her RV sits on for six years. “I am overjoyed.” Georgia lives in her RV with her husband Randy, who is 73 and suffers from serious health problems. They cannot afford to live anywhere else.
“I’m grateful that I won’t be forced to move now, but this has been a very stressful time for me and my neighbors,” said Amanda Root, who has owned her property for 20 years and has lived in an RV for three years after her manufactured home burnt down. “I hope the Zoning Commission acts quickly to clear the way for me to live in peace. I simply can’t afford to move and if the city kicks me off my property, I would be homeless.”
The city claims that it worked “extensively” with Amanda three years ago to find a manufactured home for her. But Amanda says that all the city did was give her a couple of phone numbers for manufactured homes that she could not afford. This week, the city offered Amanda a manufactured home for free, but Amanda visited the home to find that it was not livable and would likely take thousands of dollars to fix. Amanda cannot afford to fix the home and wants to stay in her current home, which she loves. “It felt like a slap in the face. It feels like the city is just trying to make itself look good in the news without actually helping.”
She continued, “Me and all the other people living in RVs have beautiful homes. We don’t want to move. We love where we are at now.”