Trey Pecor is selling the Lakeview Mobile Home Park in Shelburne and residents there worry they’re about to lose their homes.
Pecor is asking $2.4 million for the 7.39-acre property, which sits along the west side of Shelburne Road at Penny Lane. The park houses 64 mobile homes owned by 54 people.
The property value assessed by the town is $1.25 million. Dale Arango, CFO of Lake Champlain Ferries, which is owned by the Pecors, said the property was recently appraised around $2.4 million.
It’s “a very high price for a mobile home park,” said Jonathan Bond, director of the mobile home program at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity.
Residents of the park have been paying $250 a month of rent, they also pay part of their property taxes. For each mobile unit there is an additional $15,000 miscellaneous assessed values added to their property taxes, resident Chris Pratt said.
“Nobody can yank a trailer without damaging it,” explaining that he would lose about $80,000 that he has invested over time into his property. Pratt would have to start from scratch to rebuild; finding an affordable place to live is an added challenge.
“My intention when I moved here was to die here,” Pratt said. He figures it was others’ intentions as well. “It just seems like the deck is so stacked.”
Pratt received the formal letter from the Pecors on June 28. That letter legally sets into motion an opportunity for mobile home owners to potentially buy the land.
“At this point in the process it does provide an opportunity for residents to purchase the park. There will be a community meeting in the next few weeks for residents to get their questions answered and decide what they want to do,” Pratt said.
At the meeting residents will decide what the next steps are, and if they pursue buying the park as a cooperative 50 percent of the owners will have to sign a petition. If they get the signatures it gives residents 120 days to pursue purchasing the property by forming a cooperative and securing financing. The process gives residents a total of 165 days to pursue a purchase of the property.
“It is the Pecors’ full intention to sell the property back to the mobile home owners. The park has consistently one of the lowest rents in the state and in Chittenden County,” Arango said. The park has been in the family for three generations. Trey Pecor now owns it.
“The intention right now is to give the homeowners the opportunity to own their own park and direct their future,” Arango said. “This is not a close-and-sell-to-the-highest-bidder scenario.”
The cooperative formula has worked for other Vermont mobile home parks, like Shelburne Wood and North Ave. Co-Op, Bond said.
It does, however, come down to residents being able to afford it.
He added that his office has previously worked with residents at the Lakeview Mobile Home Park.
“We are excited for the opportunity to work with residents,” Bond said. “There is a lot of leadership in the community. It’s going to come down to their ability to afford the property.
“It’s too early to be anything but optimistic.”
Still, residents are intimidated by the asking price.
The terms and conditions of the sale requires a 20 percent down payment at signing of a purchase agreement, and the balance would be due at closing.
“There should be more morality here – you are a multimillionaire and you are displacing (potentially) hundreds of us,” Pratt said.