The St. Helena City Council passed their Rent Stabilization Ordinance to protect affordable housing for seniors. All mobile home parks in Calistoga and Napa have such an ordinance or agreement. One hundred and 10 communities and counties throughout California have legally put in place RSOs for such protection. Also, St. Helena spent millions of dollars to have the flood control wall built to protect the park, which provided a significant increase in the value of the property for the corporate landowners.

A Rent Stabilization Ordinance (not Rent Control) is a choice made by the resident homeowner, such as choosing to have flood or fire insurance. Currently, there will be no direct fees to the homeowner or the landowners. The difference is that the homeowner who chooses to have the RSO has a year-by-year lease while those who do not choose the RSO can still sign a longer lease, just as they always have done. The corporate landowners receive a 3 percent annual increase in the land rent from both scenarios. However, if the landowner decides to sell the property, the new landowners could increase the monthly rent on those units without RSO as high as they choose (when their lease terminates), while those with an RSO would continue to pay only the 3 percent increase annually.

Two mobile home parks were recently sold to investors offering extremely generous sums for the parks: The Calistoga Ranch on Silverado Trail, and The Carneros Inn Resort on Highway 121 in Napa. When the sales were completed, the new owners raised the monthly rents prohibitively, and the residents who could not afford the increase moved out, or were bought out. Two luxury “resorts” replaced them (while maintaining zoning status as “mobilehome parks”).

Do we really need another luxury resort, hotel and spa in St. Helena and the displacement of 200-plus seniors without providing an alternate solution in town? Or is secure housing for seniors a more reasonable goal? Vote yes on Measure F!

Tony & Betsy Holzhauer

Vineyard Valley residents

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