Mobile Home Park Could Become Student Housing Complex

Residents of the Columbia Regency Mobile Home Park may soon find themselves asked to leave the park property so the site can be turned into a student housing complex.

By Allan Vestal (Columbia, Mo.)

Ehren Oliger says he’s seen disputes between his neighbors and their property management company since he moved in to the Columbia Regency Mobile Home Park eight years ago.

“They keep raising our rent, raising our rent and they won’t do anything for us, and if we complain, they just want to throw us out. It’s all about the money, and not about the people,” Oliger said.

The property’s management company has come under criticism from Columbia residents and local activists since it submitted a proposal to close the mobile home park last August. That plan calls for replacing the park with a new student housing complex.

Columbia city councilmembers Barbara Hoppe and Helen Anthony toured Regency on Thursday night, meeting with residents who talked about their reactions to their management company’s plan.

Anthony said she was struck by how close-knit the Regency residents seem.

“Neighbors are all out and about — not only to walk around and express their opinions with us, but it’s obvious that this happens every night. People are in their driveways, children in the streets, you get a real sense of community here,” Anthony said.

Columbia’s Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously rejected the student housing plan when it met last month, citing concerns that a new complex would overwhelm sewer systems in the area.

Anthony said the council plans to look at the commission’s reasoning, but that its members will also consider how their decision affects Regency residents.

“There are really two issues here. It’s the technical components, from a rezoning perspective, from planning and zoning, but there’s the human component, and I don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t understand that,” Anthony said.

The Columbia city council is scheduled to consider the measure at its next meeting. Councilmember Anthony said she wants to table the proposal so members can have more time to weigh their options.