FAA forces Ferro Airport to vacate mobile home garden – 32963 features, 32963 news

At 74, Cindy Benaviff doesn’t know where she’s going after the FAA forced Vero Beach officials to close the Citrus Park Village mobile home community where she’s lived for nearly 50 years.

But it certainly looks like the residents of the 69-unit mobile home park – which for more than half a century occupied a plot of land on the fringes of Vero Beach Airport – will soon have to fly.

“There are a lot of older residents here – a lot of them have been here for a long time – and most of us can’t afford to move,” Benaviv said. “Even if we can afford it, most places around town have a one-year waiting list. Where are we going?”

She paused briefly to believe in herself, then added, “This would be a death sentence for some of us.”

In an August 18 letter to Vero Beach Airport manager Todd Sher, the FAA denied the city’s request to allow the mobile home community to continue occupying the property.

The FAA wrote that long-term residential use of airport property that “does not directly support flight operations” is “incompatible” and “incompatible” with agency requirements and policies governing federal grants.

If Vero Beach officials don’t remove the mobile homes and re-divide the property to an FAA-approved land use classification, the airport will not be eligible for federal grants, Scheer said, adding that the city may also be required to return federally. The money he has already received.

City officials have until October 28 to submit a “corrective action plan” to resolve the issue.

“The FAA has told us what we need to do,” Scheer said. “It can’t be a mobile home garden.”

Vero Beach officials have attempted to save the village of Citrus Park, writing in an August 11 letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that residential use of the property has been going on since “about 1942” – when the current airport site was a Naval Air Terminal, before the US government The land was transferred to the city in 1947.

City officials argued that the caravan park was not a source of complaints or concerns in the neighboring community, and that the rents paid by the tenants generated “significant non-flying income” used to support airport operations.

The average monthly rent is $208, Scheer said, which means that renters, who all own their homes, provide the airport with more than $170,000 in revenue each year.

But the Federal Aviation Administration was not affected.

Although Vero Beach Airport plans and maps have been reviewed and approved for decades — all of which included the portable home garden — the FAA in its August letter requested that it “eliminate incompatible land use as soon as possible.”

“Several years ago, the FAA sent a guy here to look at the airport property, and I drove around it,” Scheer said. “I personally took him to Citrus Park Village, but that didn’t appear in the report.”

Sher said the FAA notified the city earlier this year that it had changed its grant eligibility regulations. As the city’s attorney general, John Turner, told members of the city’s airport commission last week, “what happened in the past will not govern proceedings in the present.”

Other airports are being given the same guidance, Turner said, adding that he will delve into Florida laws governing the operation and dissolution of mobile home parks.

Airport Commission Chairman Buck Fossil recommended that Cher and Turner urge the FAA to give residents of the mobile home community “maximum time to move.”

Scheer said the city should give residents of Citrus Park Village at least six months from the time the FAA accepts the plan, but he plans to pay for at least a year. He said he did not expect that they would need to vacate the building before the end of 2023.

At the committee meeting in June, Scheer was asked if the FAA would provide federal grant money to help residents relocate or even buy their mobile homes if they are not relocating.

“They mentioned it as a possibility, but there was no obligation,” Scheer said.

Whatever the FAA decides, Cher knows the optics are daunting, especially at a time when the current real estate market makes it nearly impossible for residents of the mobile home community to find affordable options locally.

Residents of Citrus Park Village held a meeting Sunday to discuss the FAA’s guidance, but there appears to be little they can do.

“There have been rumors about this for years, but they usually just go away,” Benviv said. “This time, it looks like it’s really going to happen, which isn’t true.

“A lot of people here manage their finances based on what they pay for rent here,” she added.

We won’t find anything with the same money, or even close to it. Will we have to live in our cars?

“Like I said: I wouldn’t be surprised if people died because of this.”

%d bloggers like this: