Another mobile home park in North Charleston is being eyed for redevelopment, which could mean that up to 29 households in The Gables of Charleston would have to relocate.
A portion of The Gables, which until last year was called Saddlebrook, would be rezoned and turned into a shopping center, under a proposal submitted to North Charleston. The property is near the intersection of Patriot Boulevard and Ashley Phosphate Road.
“A lot of people here are going to get screwed,” said Clinton Irvin, the owner of a flooring business, who has lived in the mobile home park for 14 years. “It costs a lot to move a mobile home.”
For those who own mobile homes but rent the land they sit upon, like Irvin, unexpected relocation can be a financial disaster, because it costs thousands of dollars to move a mobile home. Others in mobile home parks rent units owned by others.
Hope Martin owns a double-wide where she lives with her four boys, the fifth having gone off to college, and she said that aside from the cost, there are no good options for relocating.
“We live here so that our kids can go to the Dorchester 2 schools,” she said. “We don’t want to be compensated — we don’t want to move.”
Martin said residents received a letter about the plan indicating they would be compensated in some way. Already, she said, residents are being approached by people offering to buy their trailers for low prices.
Martin said it could cost $12,000 to move her double-trailer home, and she worries that other mobile home parks would expose her children to crime and inferior schools in Charleston County.
North Charleston Councilman Ron Brinson represents the area that includes The Gables, and he said no decisions have been made on the zoning request. The Planning Commission is scheduled to make a recommendation on the plan at a meeting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 9, and City Council would vote at a later date.
“Well, we’re just going to have to see,” Brinson said. “It kind of came out of nowhere, and we’ll have to see what the public thinks about this.”
Dorchester County property records indicate there are 234 homes at The Gables, which is located behind a Wendy’s restaurant and has entrances on Patriot Boulevard and Ashley Phosphate Road. Brinson said he has spoken with the developer, who told him that meetings will be held in the community.
“They told me it was going to be a grocery store,” he said. “I’ve been told they will offer financial assistance (to residents who must relocate).”
Martin said she can’t understand the need for a shopping center at the location, when Festival Centre is just across the Ashley Phosphate Road.
“Why they want to put a shopping center here when there’s one across the street empty as a dog, I don’t know,” she said.
The Gables is owned by Yes! Communities, of Denver, which is among the largest privately-held manufactured housing owner-operators in the United States. Yes! has more than 46,000 home sites in 17 states, following the 2013 acquisition of 14,000 home sites from American Residential Communities.
The potential shopping center development would take less than 5.5 acres of the 42-acre mobile home park. The zoning request lists 29 specific properties for re-zoning, primarily on West Bluegrass Drive and Churchill Downs Court.