Anchor Trailer Port, 1527 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, opened in the 1940s as a recreational vehicle park. Now it houses about 43 spaces for mobile homes, RVs and trailers. Plans are in the works to convert the area to condos. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / January 16, 2013)

Residents spoke of various problems they had with it: among them, poor or late delivery of public notices, the notices not being written in Spanish for non-English speakers, not wanting to sign a waiver, insufficient relocation funds. Council and city staff listened, made amendments and expressed their own concerns, all while a group from IntraCorp and the Loftin Group, IntraCorp's Carlsbad-based advisory counsel, stood by.

Peter Lauener of IntraCorp's Newport office was there listening and speaking to the council. He's been with the company since 2002.

"We understand that closing a trailer park is a very sensitive process," he said in an interview. "So we've tried to be very sensitive to the residents who live there. The reality is that it's owned by a landowner whose goal is to convert it from what it is to something else, and he's retained us to do that."

He's personally met with Anchor residents, in meetings onsite and offsite, large and small. A survey was also distributed, though not all residents filled it out, Lauener said. The discussions with residents have been going on for about a year. The closure impact report has gone through several drafts as concerns were addressed, he said.

"At the end of every meeting, I get a number of residents coming up to me thanking me and saying we're being extremely fair in how we're treating everyone," Lauener said.

"We want to treat everybody fairly as it relates to their move from their current location to wherever they go," he added. "Whether it be to another mobile home park, to an apartment, to living with relatives, to going out of state. Whatever they're doing, we want to work with each individual and make sure that each individual's specific needs are taken care of in this move."

Lauener's latest meeting with residents took place on Friday. A group of Anchor residents, still upset with the process thus far, filed a petition this week with the city clerk for a review of the Jan. 14 Planning Commission hearing.

Some of them, after talking with Newport Beach city staff, have claimed IntraCorp, and the various names it has used on city documents, doesn't have a business license — an allegation Lauener said simply isn't true.

"I don't think it's an issue at all," he said. "IntraCorp is a family of companies, and we've got a number of business licenses in the city of Newport Beach, and any licenses required in the city of Costa Mesa that we need, we will get … we're not trying to circumvent the system in any way whatsoever."

He said the company has its own "rules to live by, and we've made sure that we've lived up to all the rules that are required. And we've exceeded them in a number of areas."

According to the latest closure impact report available, IntraCorp is offering a variety of relocation options for both renters and homeowners, which include moving, salvaging or buying the structures. Licensed business will do the moving.

Residents who meet certain requirements will also get an extra $5,500; the others will get $2,000.

There will also be a counselor to personally help everyone, though some residents have questioned her qualifications.

Peter Naghavi, Costa Mesa's deputy CEO and economic and development director, echoed Lauener's sentiment that the conversion process is always difficult.

"It's unfortunate that the nature of this kind of movement is always like this," he said.

"We are not going to do anything to hurt our residents," Naghavi added. "Our job is to make sure that we protect our residents by making sure that [the developers] do what they're supposed to do."

Naghavi referred to the 2004 closure of adjoining El Nido and Snug Harbor trailer parks on Newport Boulevard, which together housed more than 100 homes. The area has since been redeveloped with medical office buildings.

Closing those wasn't easy either. According to Daily Pilot archives, residents expressed similar concerns about receiving just compensation, and many didn't have nice words for Joe Brown, owner of the two parks.

There was an effort to have the City Council approve an ordinance granting the city more control over closure and conversion of mobile home parks. The ordinance made it through the Planning Commission stage after a drawn-out process, but failed to get final approval from the council.

As a result, Costa Mesa continues to rely on state law, which, by most accounts is vague.