for Writ of Certiorari to Review Quasi-Judicial Action: Agencies, Boards, and
Commissions of Local Government: ZONING – Competent Substantial Evidence – Mobile
Home Park – City Council correctly determined, as a preliminary matter, whether
adequate and suitable replacement housing existed for mobile home owners
pursuant to Section 723.083 before considering the actual zoning application –
burden was on rezoning applicant to demonstrate that replacement housing
existed – Court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the City Council
finding that adequate and suitable replacement housing was not shown to be
available – Petition denied. Wieker Enterprises, Inc. v.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
WIEKER ENTERPRISES, INC., a
Florida Corporation, 048367 N.B., Inc.,
a Canadian Corporation, and
HOLDINGS, INC., a Florida Corporation,
vs. Appeal No.05-0054AP-88A
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
THIS CAUSE came before the Court on the Petition for Writ of Certiorari, the Response and the Reply. Upon consideration of the same and being otherwise fully advised, the Court finds that the Petition must be denied as set forth below.
Petitioner, Wieker Enterprises, Inc., a Florida Corporation, (Petitioner), seeks review
of the order, entered June 16, 2005, in which the Respondents,
City of St. Petersburg and City Council of the City of St. Petersburg (City
Council), denied the Petitioner’s application to amend the Official Zoning Map
of the City for certain real property occupied and used as the Sanderwood
Mobile Home Park, from MH-P (Mobile Home Park) to RM-12/15 (Residential
Multifamily). The standard of review of such
administrative action is whether the petitioner was afforded procedural due
process, whether the essential requirements of law were observed, and whether
the administrative findings and judgment are supported by competent substantial
evidence. See Haines City
Community Development v. Heggs, 658 So.2d 523, 530 (
record shows that Sanderwood Mobile Home Park was originally developed in 1937
and consists of eight acres located within the City of
Wieker’s zoning application was considered in two steps. The City Council first considered and voted upon a resolution as to whether Wieker demonstrated that there would be adequate and suitable residential units available to the displaced mobile home owners pursuant to Florida Statutes, § 723.083. This resolution failed on a vote of one in favor and seven opposed. The resolution failed as a majority of the City Council determined that sufficient evidence had not been presented to demonstrate the existence of adequate and suitable residential units for the relocation of mobile home owners occupying the property. As a result, the City Council next denied the zoning application, by a vote of one in favor and seven opposed, from which Wieker timely filed its Petition for Writ of Certiorari.
this Court, Wieker raises three arguments:
(1) Florida Statutes, § 723.083, does not apply because the rezoning, if
approved, would not result in the removal or relocation of mobile home park
owners from the park; (2) Florida Statutes, § 723.083, does not apply
because Florida Statutes, § 723.061, applies
and provides a relocation mechanism, and; (3) If Florida Statutes, § 723.083,
applies to this case, the statute does not define the key words “adequate” and
“suitable” and the City Council erred in requiring Wieker to show that
identical, affordable or equivalent mobile home parks exists. Initially, in addressing these issues, the
Court reiterates the standard of review of administrative action. As set forth in Haines City, circuit
court review of an administrative agency decision is governed by a three-part
standard: whether procedural due process
has been accorded; whether the essential requirements of law were observed, and;
whether the findings and judgment are supported by competent substantial
There are two Florida Statutes pertinent to the appeal, Florida Statutes, § 723.083 and
§ 723.061. Section 723.083 states:
No agency of municipal, local, county, or state government shall approve any application for rezoning, or take any other official action, which would result in the removal or relocation of mobile home owners residing in a mobile home park without first determining that adequate mobile home parks or other suitable facilities exist for the relocation of the mobile home owners.
Section 723.061 states, in pertinent part:
(1) A mobile home park owner may evict a mobile home owner, a mobile home tenant, a mobile home occupant, or a mobile home only on one or more of the grounds provided in this section.
(d) Change in use of the land comprising the mobile home park, or the portion thereof from which mobile homes are to be evicted, from mobile home lot rentals to some other use, provided all tenants affected are given at least 6 months’ notice of the projected change in use and of their need to secure other accommodations. The park owner may not give a notice of increase in lot rental amount within 90 days before giving notice of a change in use.
(3) The provisions of s. 723.083 shall not be applicable to any park where the provisions of this subsection apply.
In addressing Wieker’s arguments, the Court finds, without the need to result to
construction, that the plain language of § 723.083 applies in this case as it
is undisputed that Wieker intended to develop the property into residential
townhomes if his zoning application were approved.
As pointed out by both parties, and by the City’s attorney in the proceedings below,
is virtually no case law on § 723.083 and the terms “adequate” and “suitable”
are not defined by statute. The only
published case on this section is Williams v. City of Sarasota, 780
So.2d 182 (
The Court finds that the Attorney General Opinion, set forth in a letter, dated January 3,
1986, addressed to Mr. Van B. Cook, Pinellas County Attorney, is informative. Under the same statutory language, the question posed was: “What is the meaning of the phrase ‘adequate mobile home parks or other suitable facilities’ as used in § 723.083, F.S. (1984 Supp.)?” After a lengthy analysis, the Attorney General concluded that, “the zoning authority would necessarily have to consider the financial abilities of the mobile home owners who may have to relocate, repair or replace their mobile homes” in determining whether there were adequate or suitable replacement housing. The Attorney General also held that such housing could include other facilities such as apartments, trailer parks, and boarding houses within the territorial limits of the county.
In reviewing the transcript of the hearing before the City Council, it is clear that
the City Council was very concerned about Sanderwood’s residents being able to afford other adequate or suitable housing. As counsel for Wieker expressed in discussing apartments as an alternative, “[y]ou’re going to be hard-pressed to find an apartment complex that is going to charge $ 196 or $ 205 accordingly, which are the two rental structures in Sanderwood Mobile Home Park.” The rental apartment survey submitted by Wieker showed rental rates ranging from $ 410 to $ 1,600. The survey included those apartment complexes that offered subsidized housing, or housing offered at 30 % of income. However, each such complex had a waiting list and there was concern expressed by one City Council member that there was no assurance that such subsidies would continue.
The most comparable living facilities, other mobile home parks, showed lot rental
rates ranging from $ 62.50 to $ 446.00. However, the City Council questioned the credibility of the survey since Wieker did not distinguish between parks such as Sanderwood that charge a flat monthly lot rent and those mobile home parks that are co-ops, which might charge $ 27,000 or more for a share, and then a monthly rent and a maintenance fee. The survey also failed to provide information on which mobile home parks had limitations, such as not allowing mobile homes more than ten years old.
Under these facts, the Court finds that certiorari relief must be denied. The burden was
Wieker, as the rezoning applicant, to demonstrate that suitable and adequate
facilities existed for Sanderwood’s residents who would, at some point, be
forced to relocate due to development of the property into townhomes. While the record shows that counsel for
Wieker made a good-faith attempt to provide a comprehensive survey and also appeared
to be genuinely concerned about the resident’s welfare, the Court cannot
substitute its judgment for that of the City Council.
Lastly, the Court finds that providing adequate protection for both the mobile home park owner and mobile home owner, under such circumstances as presented by this case, is something the legislature must resolve, particularly in the wake of today’s current real estate market when the displacement of mobile home owners to make way to pricier residential development has become a common occurrence.
It is therefore,
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Petition for Writ of Certiorari is hereby denied.
AND ORDERED in Chambers, at
JOHN A. SCHAEFER
Circuit Judge, Appellate Division
LAUREN LAUGHLIN JAMES CASE
Circuit Judge, Appellate Division Circuit Judge, Appellate Division
Copies furnished to:
James Marcus Vernon, Esquire
M. A. Galbraith, Jr., Esquire
Office of the City Attorney
Post Office Box 2842
 The Court dismisses Petitioners 048367 N.B., Inc., a Canadian Corporation, and Adams Land Holdings, Inc., a Florida Corporation, which did not respond to the City’s argument that these corporations lacked standing in this certiorari proceeding. The Court notes that Adams Land Holdings, Inc., is the contract purchaser of the subject property, of which James Marcus Venon, the attorney appearing on behalf of the Petitioners, is the sole stockholder. Dismissal of these Petitioners does not affect the outcome of this appeal.
 This order was not reduced to writing.
 Mr. Vernon testified that he met with several park residents to discuss their individual financial needs and to offer assistance in addition to any statutory monetary assistance each resident may be entitled to.