By Emily Mieure
Jackson Hole Daily
Via- Wyoming News Exchange
JACKSON — Residents of the Hoback RV Park were notified by email last week that they have until Dec. 31 to vacate the property.
The eviction notices came as a surprise to the 40 or so people who live there.
“I think it’s unethical,” resident Inanna Reistad said. “It is a lease and they are giving us 30 days notice … but it doesn’t feel socially just at all, especially considering we are in the middle of a pandemic. I don’t know what they expect these people to do.”
The Hoback RV Park, which sits on a 2.1-acre lot, changed hands in 2019, when Crowley Capital purchased the property that has been used as a campground and RV park dating to the 1950s.
According to property records, on Oct. 8 of this year MV Farms I LLC, a Delaware-based limited liability company, assumed 81.5% interest in the property. Crowley Capital still owns a smaller percentage of the property, records indicate.
An unsigned email sent to tenants from firstname.lastname@example.org on Nov. 19 at 5:12 p.m. said owners plan to install a new septic system in early December and that its capacity will be “well below that of the old one.”
“As a result of this change we are only able to continue accommodating tenants with current leases that extend past Dec. 31, 2020,” the email stated. “We ask that per the terms of your lease, you disconnect from water and sewer hookups and remove your RV from the property before Jan. 1, 2021.”
Crowley Capital was put on notice by Teton County in the spring for a non-compliant septic system. After a March 10 inspection, the county said Crowley Capital was in violation of several environmental and water quality standards.
Residents wonder why mass evictions are the only option, since the septic and water issues have been at play “for years.”
“I understand the septic system if it’s under capacity like that,” Reistad said. “I don’t understand why they aren’t coming up with some creative solutions just to extend us another four months.”
A call to a Crowley Capital employee on Sunday was met with the same text messages residents received days before. Further questions were not answered.
Reistad said that of the 18 or so trailers at the park, she only knows of two that are being allowed to stay. Some residents at the park have lived there for 20 years or more. Some are elderly and have medical histories that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, she said.
“We want to be able to move out when it’s feasible to move out,” she said. “We understand they need to get the septic right. May or April would give my neighbors time to plan. Many here will have to move away, and those with no options will need time to explore getting onto social security and taking more control of their lives instead of just being like … ‘Oh, and now you have a month to figure out everything.’
“We have been begging and pleading with them over text, just please extend this,” Reistad said.
Most of the residents said they have no other option. The Crowley Capital eviction notice email suggested two other RV parks, both of which Reistad said are full.
“We are disheartened that we are unable to continue providing as much affordable housing as we have in the past, but we also recognize the realities of the situation, which are beyond our control,” the email stated. “We are making these changes in the interest of being good stewards to our tenants, neighbors and the broader community.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put a halt on rent-related evictions in September to help curb the spread of COVID-19, but that order expires Dec. 31.
Reistad and her neighbors are hoping a petition will buy them until the spring when the weather is warmer and COVID-19 hopefully isn’t as rampant.
“I think some of these people might be homeless long-term because of this,” she said. “It’s Christmas, the middle of winter and a pandemic. We are all working community members and we are all trying to live feasibly in this beautiful place. We just want more time.”