The city offers to pay Anza Cove relocation fees

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – After years of trying to evict hundreds of residents from the Anza Cove, the city of San Diego has offered to pay relocation fees for more than 300 mobile-home owners and renters.

The settlement could have been avoided 41 years ago if city officials had not made a mistake.

The cove is a tidelands trust granted to the city by the state for public use, and the trust excludes residential, but the mistake was allowing mobile homes in the Anza in the first place, which violated the trust.

Although illegal, in 1953, the city granted a 50 year lease to a master tenant for a mobile home park, and 76 acres of prime bay-front property became home to more than 500 mobile homes that look more like tract homes than trailers.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said, “The source of this was not following the trust, and the trust is binding law in the city of San Diego,” he said.

He also added, “The people of San Diego don’t have access to this property, and in the meantime, people are living out there on a temporary manner, and it’s not a healthy situation for any of us.”

The residents were notified prior to 2003 the lease would expire, and they would have to vacate.

In 1988, they re-signed long term agreements, and agreed to leave when the lease expired in 2003 without compensation, but instead of leaving, residents filed a lawsuit.

A judge ruled the city had to pay for the residents to relocate.

“We don’t agree with a lot of that, and I know, the plaintiffs lawyers don’t agree with a lot of what’s in the judgement. For example, the city took the position that there was no need for any compensation whereas the Judge ruled there was, and there is,” said Goldsmith.

The residents are still there, and have been winning the battles over the years, but they have not gotten everything they wanted.

Residents felt a relocation settlement should be $48 million, but the judge only have them $22 million for both home owners and renters.

The city finally gave in and agreed to the judge’s ruling to end this protracted litigation.

Neither the residents nor their attorneys are talking while negotiations are in progress, but settlement is far from over.

“The other side can accept it, and we’re willing to move forward. If they’re not willing to, and they decide to file a notice of appeal then we’ll also raise the legal issues that we have, and most likely we’ll cross appeal and this will go on for years to come,” said Goldsmith.

If residents settle up there will be no appeals, and they will have 12 months to leave. If they do not leave, they run the risk of being kicked out without any compensation.

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