Trailer park evictions loom in Flagstaff

2013-10-13T05:20:00Z 2014-03-14T00:08:08Z Trailer park evictions loom in FlagstaffKATHLEEN STINSON Sun Staff Reporter Arizona Daily Sun
October 13, 2013 5:20 am  • 

Editor's note: The following correction was issued for this report. In Sunday’s story on new student-oriented housing on the site of the Arrowhead Village trailer park, comments by Andrew Young of Landmark Properties were not meant to imply any endorsement of or connection between NAU and the project.

A developer that specializes in student housing across the country has properties under contract and has filed a rezoning application with the city on one of the project parcels, Arrowhead Village trailer park.

The project, if approved by the city of Flagstaff, would mean the residents of Arrowhead Village would have to move out of the park and the trailers would have to go.

Vice Mayor Coral Evans said she attended the La Plaza Vieja Neighborhood Association meeting Wednesday at the Fire Station McCraken Building, at which the proposed developer, Landmark Properties, discussed its project plans to residents.

Evans said Arrowhead Village trailer park has been identified by the city as part of its Housing Urban Development (HUD) consolidated plan.

“The residents of this neighborhood are low-income, one of the most challenged, most impoverished, most in need in the city,” Evans said. “For this to happen to them tells you this could happen anywhere.”

The 56 trailers in the park are too old to move anywhere else, according to the residents. Some trailers are 40 years old and would fall apart if they were moved.

Even if the trailers could be moved, the city does not allow replacement trailers in parks or expansion of the parks.

The residents own the trailers in which they live, with one exception. The park property management company representative did not want to comment.

Many of the residents say they have made improvements to the trailers because they expected to stay there.

Roberto Soto and his family are residents of the park. Soto said he has lived in his trailer since 1992 or 1993. Soto has six young children.

“We’re not going to have a place to move to if we have to lose our trailer,” Soto said.

Another park resident, Edilburto Alvarez, said he bought his trailer a year ago.

“To rent an apartment would cost about $1,000 a month, including all the bills,” Alvarez said. “That’s a lot of money.”

Several residents did not want to give their name or did not speak English when asked to comment by the Arizona Daily Sun.


Andrew Young, senior vice president of development for Landmark Properties, an Athens, Ga., real estate firm, said the proposed project involves four parcels along Route 66 and Blackbird Roost, not including O’Reilly Auto Parts and Budget Host Inn Saga.

“We have properties under contract,” Young said.

Flagstaff City Planning Director Mark Sawyers said the project involves 6.73 acres. The applicant, Landmark Properties, is asking the city to approve a change in zoning at the trailer park from Manufactured Homes to Highway Commercial.

Sawyers said the applicant has some way to go in the process and still has to hold one more neighborhood meeting; get a recommendation from the city Planning and Zoning Commission, which involves a public hearing; and get approval from the city council after the council holds a public meeting. And, the applicant still has to complete its impact analysis on traffic, water, sewer and drainage.

“The process would take at least two months,” Sawyer estimated.

Young said he did not want to comment on the trailer park part of the proposed project, but he said: “Our intent is to build a multifamily project targeted toward Northern Arizona University students (housing) ... We are excited about the market.”

Young said the developer wants to build two multistory buildings of varying heights.


Evans said about 75 people attended the community meeting Wednesday - most were residents of the trailer park. She said the developer’s representatives talked about the apartment complex and its proximity to the university, but only mentioned the trailer park when asked directly.

Evans said one of the park residents said, “I don’t see the trailer park on the plans.”

The developer’s representatives then said in essence, according to Evans, “By the way, we are buying the trailer park and the trailers will no longer be there.”

Evans said one of the developer’s representatives at the meeting said he thought they could get everything done and be able to issue a notice to the park residents by Dec. 26 that they must vacate in 180 days.

“I was horrified that they would give someone that type of notice the day after Christmas,” Evans said. “I was horrified at the delivery that they spent the majority of the time selling the project to people who could never afford it.”

Evans said the developer’s representative said they would offer each resident about $3,500 in relocation expenses.

This is usually not enough for a first and last month’s rent and security deposit in Flagstaff.

Kevin Lindsay, owner of AAMCO Transmissions in Flagstaff, said a representative of Landmark Properties took him to dinner, offered to buy him out of his lease on Route 66 (part of the parcel the project wants to redevelop), and give him assistance in relocating.

Lindsay said he counter-offered and the agreement was struck between them.

“The agreement says Landmark is going to pay me an agreed amount at the time of closing.”

He said he is happy to have moved to another location in Flagstaff.

“In my opinion that development for me is a plus,” he said.


Jesse Dominguez, president of the La Plaza Vieja Neighborhood Association where the trailer park is located, said a second neighborhood meeting will be held on Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Woodlands Hotel.

“I feel for the sensitivity of the people being displaced,” Dominguez said. “They are low income; this is where they live; this is all they’ve got.”

Councilmember Celia Barotz said: “The city council does not know anything about this (project) officially. Based on information now out in the community as a result of the meeting,” her concerns are that these park residents are taken care of.

She said she wants to hear all the information from the developer and all parties, but sees as her “responsibility” to make sure the parks’ residents are heard in the process.

Copyright 2015 Arizona Daily Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(21) Comments

  1. TyCon
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    TyCon - November 05, 2013 6:24 pm
    The $3500 the residents will be receiving is a lot more than the homes are worth. In reality, you couldn't give them away. If Coral Evans would keep her nose out of this, most of the people would be happy with the relocation fee. But she is going to ruin it for them by having them stop paying their rent. If they get evicted sooner than needed (would be the end of June), they will lose out on their relocation money. I feel sorry for the people in the trailer park, but $3500 is plenty to relocate.
  2. Avalon
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    Avalon - November 03, 2013 10:32 am
    Stop calling housing "Low Income". Affordable....People need an affordable place to live, and so do New Students. Some students have to work and pay for their own education. As Student loans will the students. Our children need a good they can compete. Affordable Housing does not separate brings people together
  3. clifffalling
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    clifffalling - October 17, 2013 12:02 pm
    Hah! True story.
  4. mturner
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    mturner - October 16, 2013 9:23 pm
    Fact is..... real estate is in high demand downtown and near campus. This makes it worth money. It's not the City how about the property owners selling because they have a good offer. You can't stop economics, supply and demand. Going to have to move further out of the area for cheaper housing.
  5. Bob
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    Bob - October 16, 2013 5:17 pm
    Too bad you didn't speculate and buy one of those old trailers, now called modular homes. You would have had the cash to get out of town.
  6. NotASheep
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    NotASheep - October 16, 2013 6:55 am
    An unfortunate situation, but only in America can each resident of a trailer park be offered $3500.00 in relocation expenses and be given 6 months to vacate the property and still people complain.
  7. clifffalling
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    clifffalling - October 15, 2013 6:16 pm
    Ugh.. yes, this is something that was probably inevitable; but unfortunate none-the-less. I would be considered middle class, but I still live paycheck to check in this town. It is over-speculated. For those of you that may have to leave... take the money they offer. Move somewhere east... Tennessee, Arkansas both have great economies and great job markets. Arkansas has actually run a budget surplus for several years. Anyway...I'm going to do that... as soon as I can save enough to move.
  8. Maunawili
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    Maunawili - October 15, 2013 5:34 pm
    Flagstaff really lacks affordable, low-income housing, which is surprising considering the very low wages paid here. I'd sure like to see some more housing built to accommodate folks like the ones facing this eviction, as well as for myself and others like me. If more student housing is needed, let NAU build it, on THEIR campus.
  9. Scrappy13
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    Scrappy13 - October 15, 2013 9:21 am
    this is sad these people need there homes just let them be if anything help them fix there homes they have family's the NAU students don't got kids or anything they just don't need more housing they have plenty of housing for the students im a student not at NAU but I work multiple jobs and still barley make it through from paycheck to paycheck Flagstaff is NOT a place to raise your children
  10. get over it
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    get over it - October 15, 2013 6:55 am
    It doesn't matter if its a college town or not or how the trailers look these people are humans and have made this place they're home. If any of you were to be told you had to move then I bet you would think different, stop being selfish and help these people. Half this town has become student housing and the prices are ridiculous.its sad flagstaff has done this and I'm very disappointed
  11. hendershotr
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    hendershotr - October 14, 2013 2:56 pm
    One thing that seems to be forgotten here is the fact that the city of Flagstaff is a college town. No matter how hard it is for people to want to understand that it's the truth. Most of the money brought to the city is because of the college students and their families. Flagstaff is trying to maintain an appearance to families with kids going off to college. Would any of you want your kids living in an area that looked like this if you were sending them off to school?
  12. Spudzdad
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    Spudzdad - October 14, 2013 2:02 pm
    If the economy (including property ownership) is not progressing, it is regressing. This area has long been an eyesore and worse, a safety problem for residents. I find it interesting that the comments have been focused on the new developers and what will happen in the future. Why isn't anyone commenting on the lousy conditions the current property owners have kept the trailers, etc. in? Because if they cleaned it goes up and it becomes less affordable. Keep the blight! No thanks.
  13. Fromthemiddle
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    Fromthemiddle - October 14, 2013 9:43 am
    So Dan you want the City to "force: a private sector to give families a considerable discount to live in new buildings? When you say Flagstaff needs to provide safe and affordable housing, what your really saying is TAX Payers should do this.Geez!
  14. get over it
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    get over it - October 14, 2013 8:51 am
    This is just one more thing the city of flagstaff is screwing up on they obviously don't care about low income families and just want money. I feel sad for those who will lose they're homes and I wish them luck and will be praying for them especially now that its getting cold
  15. LilleeGirl
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    LilleeGirl - October 13, 2013 8:13 pm
    Ultimately I think we knew eventually this would happen. However the blatant disregard for the people who live here is unbelievable by the developers. Yes, we live where we live because this is what we can afford. But to throw in our faces that we are moving them out, regardless where they go or where they can afford to live, because STUDENTS need more housing? Sure students can afford a $1200 apt, because they have 4 people to share that rent with. Money over human regard, what a disgrace.
  16. Smarter
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    Smarter - October 13, 2013 3:35 pm
    If the trailers would fall apart if moved, they should be not be occupied now. Six young children living in a fire trap? Several residents won't give their names and many do not speak English? Welcome the student housing for a lot of reasons.
  17. DAKMAG
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    DAKMAG - October 13, 2013 1:46 pm
    why dont they spend the money on emproving the homes of the lower class that need the help insted of helping the student population there are already to many over pirced appartment complexes on that side of twon and they just added more housing on NAU so why does the city need to take thies poeples homes away for them . the city needs to focus on building more low income housing instead of studen housing .....
  18. DAKMAG
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    DAKMAG - October 13, 2013 1:43 pm
    This is bull the city already has enough over priced housing why do they need to take peoples home away from them for more students that are only here for a couple of years and dont make flagstaff there permanent home just so they can make a buck off of the students dont they Realize that they make it harder and harder to stay in this town they want the economy to improve but it wont if they keep forcing the working class out to better suit the transient students
  19. DanFrazier
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    DanFrazier - October 13, 2013 9:59 am
    These types of ancient and decaying mobile homes are not appropriate housing for anyone, especially in Flagstaff, where winters are brutal. If possible, the developer should be forced to allow these displaced families to live in the new buildings at a considerable discount.Meanwhile, Flagstaff needs to look long and hard at whether it is doing enough to provide safe affordable housing for its low-income residents. Such trailer parks are not the answer and they need to be phased out.
  20. M McCullough
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    M McCullough - October 13, 2013 8:57 am
    It is becoming more and more clear that all the city cares about is student housing. It is hard enough in Flagstaff to work and have decent housing now to take away houses is just cruel. The city needs to stop hurting low income families or letting others do so.
  21. Xeano321
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    Xeano321 - October 13, 2013 8:53 am
    This has been long coming in Flagstaff. Sadly, it must happen if Flagstaff is to remain a progressive community.
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