Press Releases

August 10, 2009

Residents Sue To Prevent City's Planned Destruction of Affordable Housing

On August 10, 2009, residents of the Travel Country RV Park, together with the community
organization Orange County ACORN, filed a lawsuit against the City of Garden Grove, its City
Council and Agency for Community Development. The lawsuit seeks an order requiring the city
to replace over 100 units of affordable housing slated to be destroyed to make way for a hotel
and water park. The plaintiffs also seek an order requiring the city to adopt a new relocation
plan that includes adequate relocation benefits for residents to be displaced for the development.
Most of the plaintiffs have lived in the park for over 10 years. Some have lived there for more
than 20 years. "We are taxpaying residents of Garden Grove, and we love where we live," said
lead plaintiff and ACORN member Marina Limon, a 22 year park resident. "Many of us have
kids in local schools, and many of us work in key industries that keep Orange County's economy
going. All we're asking for is the ability to continue living, working, and raising our families
here."

"Destroying over 100 units of affordable housing to build a water park at public expense is not
responsible redevelopment -- particularly without a plan for replacement of that housing or
adequate relocation for the tenants," said staff attorney Remy De La Peza of Public Counsel, the
largest pro bono law office in the nation. "The lawsuit simply asks the city to comply with state
mandated affordable housing requirements before taking actions harmful to its residents. Public
Counsel and its co-counsel, California Affordable Housing Law Project and Fulbright &
Jaworski LLP, are committed to protecting the rights of these residents."

In 2005, when the City of Garden Grove Agency for Community Development ("Agency")
acquired the park, over 100 families resided there. Since then, the Agency has used questionable
tactics to push some of them out - including offering one-time relocation payments without
advising them of their rights under relocation law. In May of this year, the City Council and the
Agency entered into a disposition and development agreement with Colorado-based developer
McWhinney. The agreement involves the City contributing some $20 million to McWhinney,
including giving the developer land at the park and an adjacent business at no cost, as well as a
public subsidy for construction of a parking structure.