Mobilehome Park Conversions Trigger Coastal and Mello Act Compliance Requirements

By William W. Abbott

Pacific Palisades Bowl Mobile Estates, LLC v. City of Los Angeles (November 29, 2012, S187243) ___Cal.4th ___. In a 6 to 1 decision, the California Supreme Court concluded that mobilehome park conversions subject to Government Code section 66427.5 of the Subdivision Map Act are also subject to the Coastal Act and Mello Act (the latter for affordable housing in the Coastal zone.) In 1991, the Legislature enacted Government Code section 66427.5. This new code section set forth the particular determinations under the Subdivision Map Act when local government was processing a subdivision map application for conversion of a rental park to an owner occupied park and was intended to narrow the scope of local government inquiry which might otherwise be permitted by the Subdivision Map Act when processing other types of proposed subdivisions. The 1991 legislation included language which stated, in conjunction with local government review of the tentative map, that “The scope of the hearing shall be limited to the issue of compliance with this section.”

The Pacific Palisades case arose when the City of Los Angeles determined that the application was incomplete because it did not include related applications and information pertinent to compliance with the Coastal Act and Mello Act. The applicant filed suit to overturn the rejection of the application. The trial court agreed with the applicant’s position, but the court of appeal reversed. The applicant petitioned for review by the California Supreme Court. The question for the Supreme Court was whether the limitation language in section 66427.5 operated as an exemption from the Coastal Act and Mello Act. After a detailed review of the code section, the California Supreme Court concluded in a 6 to 1 decision that an applicant (and processing city or county) must comply with all three statutes.

William W. Abbott is a partner at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP. For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, real estate, environmental and/or planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann, LLP at (916) 456-9595.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

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