More than 50 residents of the Manhattan Trailer Court mobile home park on Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen went to court on Valentine’s Day to hold off their evictions for another year. The owner of the property, Manhattan MTC Associates, LLC, has been trying to remove them so they can build a 216-unit residential development.
In court, 25 tenants went on the record in favor of a proposed legal agreement extending their stay for another year, while 31 rejected it and an unspecified number failed to show up.
The last trailer park residents may have to leave by June 30, 2014.
Those who declined the agreement have until Feb. 20, 2014 to leave.
Those who did not show up have received a summons giving them three days to leave, according to Beides. Some tenants may have wanted to sign the agreement but could not appear in court, and may still sign.
Eviction notices have become routine for Manhattan Trailer Court tenants since Manhattan MTC Associates, LLC bought the property five years ago for $5.5 million.
Beides said, “The ones that wanted to settle [believed] it was a fair offer under the circumstances.” The others, he said, wanted the court to decide.
Beides believes there were seven tenants who failed to appear in court.
Attorney Mario Blanch, who was retained individually by one tenant, said, “I think the ultimate result is a very sad day for the people of North Bergen, particularly because the trailer park was the home to many modest and hard working individuals.”
But in modern Hudson County, affordable housing is dwindling. The trailer park property is located on the same block from as a new light rail station, making it more desirable for developers.
“[The situation] involves uprooting people who have been living in their homes for many, many years and have made investments in purchasing those homes,” said Beides. “We’re still hopeful that the overall litigation can be resolved in a manner that will at least provide both sides with an acceptable outcome.”
Resident Gary Carlson, who retained Blanch, approved the settlement so that he would not be evicted soon, he said. But a year from now, he must find a new home and leave behind the one he shared for many years with his late partner, renowned artist Robert Loughlin. Loughlin was struck and killed by a car two years ago while he was returning home to the trailer park after feeding stray cats across the street.
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