City changes zoning, then wants to evict homeowners

Cloud 9 used to be a mobile-home park in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Now it’s a “manufactured home” site.

So those people who either have rented or owned the .13-acre parcels on which their “mobile homes” sit must move, the city says.

The demand has prompted a lawsuit by the Institute for Justice.

See a video in the dispute:

The case has been brought by three Sierra Vista residents targeted by the city for moving from “their RV homes.”

The IJ lawsuit alleges the city is violating the homeowners’ property rights under the Arizona Constitution.

“No one should be made homeless in the name of zoning,” said Paul Avelar, managing attorney of IJ’s Arizona office. “There is no health or safety reason for kicking our clients out of their homes. The city’s eviction orders are senseless and cruel and come in the middle of a pandemic.”

The complaint notes that the city is unhappy with the mobile homes because they fail to meet its definition of “manufactured home.”

IJ explained: “Amanda Root and Georgia and Grandy Montgomery live in the Cloud 9 neighborhood. For years they have lived in trailer homes the city deems RVs that are on property that they respectively own and rent. The neighborhood is dotted with derelict mobile homes, yet the city is seeking to evict well-maintained RV homes. Living in RVs is not illegal in the Cloud 9 neighborhood, just on the certain properties – including those occupied by Root and the Montgomerys.”

“I’m suing Sierra Vista because their order would make me homeless,” said Amanda Root said in a statement released by her lawyers. “I love my home, I take good care of my property and I shouldn’t have to move. It’s frustrating because I’m surrounded by houses that are falling apart and the city is doing nothing about them. I own this land, why should I have to go somewhere else?”

The eviction notices arrived last summer after no hearings, no opportunity for appeal and no court rulings.

“The city does not maintain that the homes are unsafe for their residents or a danger for the neighborhood. The lawsuit asserts that abusive zoning laws and failure to provide residents with due process before taking away their property rights are violations of the Arizona Constitution,” IJ said.

“The city is asking them to leave simply because it says so and without regard to the fact that the residents do not have clear options for other housing,” IJ said.

IJ constitutional law fellow John Wrench said homelessness “is a serious and growing problem and there’s broad agreement that restrictive zoning makes it nearly impossible for many Americans to find affordable housing.”

“Eviction should be a tool of last resort and should only come after homeowners have a chance to contest the order,” he said. “Your property rights don’t depend on whether you live in a castle or RV.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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