With recent approvals from the City Council and Planning Commission, 40 live-work condominiums are poised to replace the mobile homes, RVs and trailers. Asking prices have not yet been released.
The two- and three-bedroom units are planned to have three floors and be as large as 2,000 square feet. The bottom floors will be open, lofty work spaces; the second floors will have the kitchen, dining and family rooms; the third will have the bedrooms. There will be decks on all the rooftops.
'There's just nothin' out there'
Mike Libby was born in a car on the Balboa Peninsula. With his U.S. Merchant Marine license and decades of experience on the water, he's a captain as well, but his neighbors usually call him "Mouse." He's had the nickname since kindergarten.
Mouse grew up in Santa Ana and Costa Mesa, where he graduated from Costa Mesa High School. For a time, his parents ran a bar on Balboa Boulevard. Some years later, the bar became the Shore House Cafe.
For the past 16 years, Mouse has lived in a single-wide mobile home at Anchor Trailer Port. He owns his house and leases the plot, which is close to his work down at the marina.
He likes having his own little carport and little yard. Neighbors claim he's got the best lemon tree around. But that's not all of what he likes about his home.
"I got all my crap in it," he said with a laugh. "These pictures, this stuff that I grew up with."
His tidy rooms are full of memories on paper, photographs of his life, family and friends through the years. He pointed to one of them showing his half-sister next to Elvis Presley.
Those same neighbors who compliment his lemon tree say he's got better interior decorating style than most bachelors.
But when he's forced to move out, he's not sure what's next for him. He said his 1960s-era home is too old and decrepit to be moved. City staff have acknowledged that spaces for mobile homes and similar dwellings are in short supply in Costa Mesa and its environs.
"Dude, I've been to a bunch of parks," he said. "There's just nothin' out there, ya know? I looked at a house for rent over here, called it. It was a little small, one-bedroom thing. Perfect. But they said it was rented out."
He's also having a conflict of definition. He says his home is a single-wide; developers say it's a travel trailer. Their definitions determine some of the relocation benefits he's eligible for.
But he feels better than his neighbor, who he said is "flipping out" over moving because he's got kids in school. Mouse said at least as a single guy, he can move easily.
Mouse described his feeling of the whole process thus far in a word: confused.
"It's in the dark. Christ, they say one thing and do another ... They smile one way and you're going, what does that mean? You don't get anything out of it."
Developer, city perspectives
After two-and-a-half hours of public testimony and discussion, the City Council on Jan. 8 certified that Anchor Trailer Port's closure impact report met the minimum state requirements. The report outlined impacts of the closure, the residents' relocation options and mitigations.