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De Anza residents air crime concerns

BONNIE JO KASLAN is the president of the De Anza Moon Valley Mobile Home Park homeowners association. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

BONNIE JO KASLAN is the president of the De Anza Moon Valley Mobile Home Park homeowners association. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

By Sandi Hansen/Special to the Index-Tribune

In the past five years, De Anza Moon Valley Mobile Home Park has seen a 60-percent increase in crime reports to the Sonoma Police Department. Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett announced that alarming fact at a recent meeting in the park’s clubhouse on Fifth Street West.

“It reaffirms what we feel – that there is a considerable increase in (crime) activity in and around the park,” Sackett told the well-attended meeting. “In 2009, officers came (to the park) 140 times; in 2013 they came out 225 times.”

The April 21 meeting of the De Anza Homeowners Association (HOA), chaired by HOA President Bonnie Joy Kaslan, was held to address the increasing problems many residents say were created after the park converted from a 55-plus age requirement to all-age residents.

Complaints at the meeting included late-night loud noise, damage to personal property (including vehicles), harassment and other threatening behavior by some residents, known drug dealing and usage, an unlicensed day-care operation and an excess number of residents legally allowed to live in individual units.

Many of the complaints are violations of “Moon Valley Community Standards,” a list of protocols that sets park regulations. The standards are based on Mobilehome Residency Law, as part of the California Civil Code governing manufactured-home communities.

Why aren’t the park’s owners and management enforcing the code? Some residents say part of the reason is that the Southern California owners, Terra Vista Management, are not paying enough attention to complaints and that, since the 2009 park conversion to all-age residents, the owners’ priority is keeping the units occupied at capacity.

Also, the longtime Moon Valley manager accepted a position in Southern California within the same corporation three months ago, and an interim manager from corporate headquarters is currently in place.

“Park owners have an obligation they have not lived up to,” was Kaslan’s response to these complaints. “We need to put pressure on management to remind them of their responsibility,” she said, holding up a file folder of signed complaints by park residents.

Sackett urged the meeting’s attendees to become more vigilant and proactive. “It’s important to communicate your fears with us, don’t retreat into your homes in fear. The park has changed and I’m not sure we can go back to the way it was,” he said. “It means working with your HOA board, getting people involved as leaders who will do the work to find some peace.”

He also said Neighborhood Watch is an important tool, “… bringing community members together for willingness to work with law enforcement, knowing what your neighbors are doing and looking out for each other. It’s a lot more fun when you live next to people you get along with.”

Kaslan said she believes the park can turn around. “It’s the desire and intention of the board of directors and park residents to return to the stellar community we were known to be, where people were vying to live here.”