Best Kept Secret in SLO County!
—Marie Pounders, Co-Manager, Region 8 and SLOMAP President
LOST OAK MOBILEHOME PARK, a 55 space family park, is nestled on a triangular plot of land just off the 101 freeway at 9191 San Diego Road in Atascadero, California. Ron Vanderpool, his wife and his good friend, Richard Guthrie, planned and built this modest, workforce-housing park between 1982 and 1985, doing much of the construction work themselves. Their goal was to provide housing for ordinary working people at an affordable price. They chose to make the lots a little smaller, the homes a bit more modest. Inside, kitchens include all the standard amenities; there is no “den” but the living rooms are a generous size and homes include an inside laundry room. Outside, there are no large porches, but each home has a 2 car paved concrete driveway with attached carport. Even though the city of Atascadero has NO mobilehome park rent stabilization ordinance, Ron, his wife and Richard created their very own reasonable rental rates system, utilizing the CPI and a lot of common sense about what their residents could afford. Their rents are the lowest in Atascadero, between $479 and $498/month. Water and sewer are included. For such a small park, Los Oak includes a handsome clubhouse, a swimming pool, spa and children’s playground. When upgrades are needed, there are NO pass throughs to residents. Three years ago, the clubhouse was completely remodelled, at no charge to the residents.
The owners’ philosophy is that they themselves take pride in their homes and want residents to take pride in where they live and it really shows. All homes are owner occupied. We have interviewed people at random and folks feel they are treated with respect here in Lost Oak. On many occasions, Ron and Richard helped residents who couldn’t afford to repair a fixture or purchase a replacement item either by using local resources (CAPSLO) or by providing the work and materials themselves and letting residents pay back if and when they can.
Several years ago, shortly after Ron’s wife passed away, Ron himself died suddenly while his daughter was visiting … the whole park was devastated. We wondered what would happen to Lost Oak? Peggy, one of the daughters and Richard, the partner, made the choice to keep Lost Oak and Peggy is now the on-site manager! She is always accessible by cell phone to residents and has embraced working with SLOMAP, our county mobilehome residents group, utilizing community resources we provide for her residents. Richard, over the past few years, has found a source of new mobilehomes which are considerably less expensive than ones which have local sales lots. Numerous residents have benefited from this new source. All of the homes in the park are tidy, clean and neat. The congenial, respectful relationship between management/owners and residents is what makes this park stand out above all others in the county. Two summers ago, Peggy attended a workshop with a group of other park owners which was set up by the county. The purpose was to discuss the viability of mobilehome parks today. Peggy gave an emotional presentation on their philosophy as responsible park owners who care about their residents. She told the group that it is still possible for parkowners to make a profit and provide decent affordable housing by owning and managing a mobilehome park.
Lost Oak MHP and its owners, Peggy Vanderpool, Richard Guthrie and Jill Hamblin, received the first ever Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League (GSMOL) Exemplary Park Owner Recognition Award last spring and celebrated at a special luncheon in their honor given by SLOMAP in July, 2012!!
Peggy Vanderpool, Richard Guthrie, Jill Hamblin receiving the GSMOL
Exemplary Park Owner Recognition Award from Dana Lilley, County Planning Department.