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Mobile Home Parks, RV Parks, and the Future of Affordable Housing in Apache Junction, Arizona

Maggie Dellow - 2019 Spring Graduate 

Over the Spring on 2019, I worked with the City of Apache Junction to complete an assessment of mobile home and RV parks as well as affordable housing opportunities. Over 50% of the City of Apache Junction’s housing stock is composed of mobile, manufactured and RV homes. Of the estimated 125 mobile home and RV park communities in Apache Junction, a significant number are in advanced stages of dilapidation. Many of the most challenged parks predate the city itself, failing to conform to current city zoning code and lacking modern infrastructure. For many of these non-conforming mobile home and RV parks, the housing stock is just as outdated, some of which was built and established prior to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, failing to meet federal standards for quality, durability and safety. Additionally, many of the communities in question pose health and safety risks in general, violating city code in terms of property maintenance, building codes and refuse and garbage removal. To preserve property owner interests and the affordable housing stock that is made possible through mobile housing, the City granted properties “rights of lawful non-conformance” which allows them to continue operating their property in its current fashion. However, as property values rise and the cost of making necessary improvements increases, mobile home parks become vulnerable to closure, and their residents, victim to displacement.

The goals of this project were threefold: 1) Improve the conditions of high-priority parks and increase the quality of living for residents; 2) Promote the redevelopment of parks into alternative affordable housing units when appropriate; and 3) Preserve affordable housing to meet the demonstrated need of the Apache Junction’s population. Through a series of tasks, including a literature review, needs assessment of properties, and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, I developed research findings and analysis that identified the following five main recommendations and ideas for implementation:

  1. Develop a strategy for preservation, improvement, and promotion of redevelopment.
  2. Support and invest in mobile home and RV park owners.
  3. Be proactive in attracting and incentivizing developers to pursue affordable and market-rate housing development in the City.
  4. Create an action protocol for when owners list mobile home and RV parks for sale.
  5. Create an affordable housing development overlay district.

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