Judge to rule on De Anza Cove settlement Tuesday

SAN DIEGO - A decade-old lawsuit involving the De Anza Cove mobile home park in Mission Bay may finally be settled Tuesday afternoon.

A judge is expected to announce how much the city owes the residents in relocation fees. The lease for the park expired in 2003. The city wanted to reclaim the land, but nearly 500 residents sued, saying the city violated a state law that requires they receive relocation costs.

Ernie Abbit has been leading the fight on behalf of his neighbors.

"They created it," Abbit told 10News Monday night from his mobile home which overlooks the bay. "They created the monster that we all have to live with here. It was the city uncaring and unyielding."

The judge ruled in favor of the residents. That was seven years ago. Since, then both sides have been battling over compensation.

"The facts are very clear. The facts are that the city had to abide by the mobile home residency law. Had the city followed the law, and done what they were supposed to do, we would've been out of here in 2003," said Abbit.

Abbit said most of the residents are elderly.

"For the people who have invested their life savings here, where are they going to go?" he asked.

According to Abbit, moving a mobile home within 25 miles costs roughly $12,000, but he says most are in no condition to be moved.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer would not comment ahead of Tuesday's hearing, but he has said De Anza Cove is a fantastic civic and recreational resource that he looks forward to opening to the public.

Attorneys for the city have said in the past that the residents knew the lease was going to expire in 2003 and they should have made arrangements.

Abbit does not see it that way.

"They did nothing to deserve this," he said. "It's the city's responsibility. It's the city that turned its back on these people and thought in a day they can throw them out of here, just get them out, get them out as cheaply as possible in spite of the law."

It is unclear what the city plans to do with the property. There has been talk of a resort or expanding a nearby RV park.

Abbit would not say how much the residents are hoping to get.

"We're not looking for the moon," he said. "All people are looking for is what the law provides and the law provides that there will be relocation."

The hearing is set for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

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