Monday, October 28, 2013

The Darker Side of Rezoning: Part 2

Last week I posted about a redevelopment project that would consume a mobile home park for senior citizens behind the Winchestor Mystery House. I think it safely won the record for most comments on any single post this blog has ever had. This week, I have a video that goes along with that original post (below). I'm not sure if it will sway opinions one way or another for those that have already picked a side, but it is definitely worth watching.


As you all know there is huge redevelopment project being planned for the land across the street from Santana Row and Valley Fair where the Winchester domes currently sit. Given how hot the area has become, this seems like an ideal spot to turn into a dense mixed-use village, but there is an unfortunate downside to redevelopment here. A mobile home park for senior citizens would likely be destroyed in the process. Please see the letter below that was originally intended for The Mercury News, but they refused to publish.

Also note that the letter below does not reflect my personal opinions about this project, but I think it is important for these citizens to be heard and hopefully there can be some sort of compromise between the developers and these senior citizens living in Winchester Ranch.

Mobile Home Park in Jeopardy

A few days ago Councilman Pete Constant visited the Winchester Ranch Mobile Home Park. We packed our clubhouse because we were all eager to hear what he had to say. Winchester Ranch is a senior mobile home park located in back of the Winchester Mystery House, hugging the Hwy 280 sound wall. It’s a small park, just over 100 homes and about 140 senior residents. The park was created in 1976 by Mark Cali. He meant it to be a safe haven for seniors. Unfortunately Mark is no longer with us. His children own the land now, and collect the monthly rent from us. They have decided to sell it out from under us to a developer (Pulte Homes).  Mark Cali is most likely spinning in his grave because he wanted the park to be here long after he died.

In case you haven’t heard, San Jose planners are working on a huge redevelopment that they are calling an Urban Village, to be located across the street from Santana Row. The Century theaters and Flames will be plowed under as well as any other businesses and adjacent land that the developers can get their hands on.

When the city planners first considered which property would be part of the redevelopment, our mobile home park was left out. Their first instinct was to leave us alone. When our owners, the Cali family, heard that they contacted the planners and asked that the park be placed on the redevelopment grid.

There is one stumbling block to the sale of our property to the developer. Our land is zoned for use as a senior mobile home park. Winchester Ranch’s only hope for survival is if the city of San Jose does not change the zoning. Pete Constant’s spiel was informative but not encouraging to us. He explained that the city has many things to think about. One of the things that the city should think about is fact that there is very little “affordable” housing for seniors. We will be in very difficult straits if we lose our homes.

Seniors prefer to live independently, but close to our friends and family. If you drive through Winchester Ranch you will find a very well-maintained park. We all own our homes and we all work hard to keep our little park looking its very best. We are a well-established community, we are good neighbors, and we help each other. We want to remain here in our homes. At this point it’s up to the city of San Jose to do nothing! If they don’t change the zoning we have a very good chance of keeping our homes for a long time.


  1. The old folks are screwed. End of story.

  2. This is a hard fact that they should have known when they bought their homes. If you dont own the land, you have no authority over the land. It sounds cold hearted, but those are the facts. That land is prime real estate and should be developed for the betterment of the surrounding community.

    1. well, aren't you a kind soul...ever hear the word compassion? Tolerance? yes, you should be ashamed!

    2. Puhleazzzze, gimme a break! Our school classrooms are made of repurposed shipping containers, PD & FD are bitching about more dough, roads are falling apart and you're crying foul for the folks that made poor choices?!? Hey, guess what! When I retire, I'll buy a mobile home in Silicon Valley!

      Moving on, nothing to see here...