Residents of Hillcrest Mobile Home Park have a two-month extension from an order to get out issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation late last year.
Spokeswoman Lori O’Connell said the agency this week approved the 60-day extension — until June 1 — provided for in the October consent order after “finding good cause for the request.” The original deadline was April 1. The mobile home park has 53 sites and is located off Western Turnpike.
In December, park residents received a letter from Morgan Management, the Rochester-area company that owns the property, indicating the park would need to cease discharging from its wastewater treatment system into the Normanskill Creek. The letter offered residents up to $4,000 to relocate their homes to one of three Morgan Management properties in Porter Corners and Ballston Spa in Saratoga County,
News of the extension comes amid recent rumors that Morgan Management is preparing to sell the park to a buyer that would then fix the failing sanitary system. Calls placed to a regional manager at Morgan Management were not returned Wednesday.
Park Manager Richard Dickershaid declined to speculate Wednesday if a deal was in the works, but said word of the extension was good news for those hoping Hillcrest can be saved.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” he said.
O’Connell said any prospective buyer of the park would be required to demonstrate a financial ability to fix the sanitary problem before the consent order could be lifted. So far, she said the DEC hasn’t received any formal proposals for repairs.
“The department is willing to work with a new owner, but the order stands unless the new owner shows some ability to afford and has the funding arranged for the upgrades,” she said.
Hillcrest was formerly owned by Pittsford Capital LLC, a group that had all of its assets seized in July 2006 after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged its principal owners with running a fraudulent promissory note scheme and raising more than $15 million. The park was sold to Morgan Management for $600,000 in October, two months after a U.S. District Court judge ordered Pittsford principals Edward “Ted” Tackaberry and Mark Palazzo to pay $11.7 million for their role in the real estate scheme.
Dickershaid, who contacted state officials last month about the predicament facing park residents, said the Legislature must enact stricter laws to enhance the rights of park tenants. In the case of Hillcrest, he said some tenants had lived in their homes for more than 41 years and were initially being asked to leave them in only six months. In another case, he said a tenant bought a home at the park and received the eviction notice from Morgan Management the next day.
“You can never guarantee that a mobile home park owner won’t sell and to someone like Morgan Management, who is going to throw everyone out and take the land,” he said. “People who are moving into mobile home parks should be protected.”
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