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Developer agrees to move residents
City gives landowner 18 months to relocate mobile homes at own expense
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A development agreement is in place between the City of Hinesville and a firm looking to replace a mobile home park with apartments and townhomes – and the developer has to adhere to the conditions before getting its requested annexation.

Newbridge Properties owns the mobile home park and wants to turn the 13.9 acres off Live Oak Church Road into an apartment and townhome complex. But first, as part of the agreement, it has to find new spots for the mobile home residents and has to do it within 18 months.

Council members voted 4-1, with Council member Dexter Newby casting the dissenting vote, to approve the development agreement.

The company is offering to move the Oak View mobile home owners to spots at other properties it owns, such as Georgia Homes at Coastal Oaks. The plan is to put 184 apartments and 34 townhomes on the property, once the property is annexed into the city.

But if Newbridge does not live up to the development agreement, the city is not obligated to annex them into the city and then provide the needed water and sewer, Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission executive director Jeff Ricketson pointed out.

“I think this council is on the record on making this process as convenient for both parties as possible,” Mayor Karl Riles said. “This agreement was put into place to make sure those conversations take place. They want to make this happen and they want to make the transition happen.”

At a March city council meeting, Newbridge officials said they were hesitant to inform the Oak View residents of their plans, in case they fell through.

“I didn’t want to warn or scare anyone until we had approval,” said Maryann Rossignol, the managing director of asset management for Hudson Realty Capital. “The development agreement gives us a lot of time.”

Mayor Riles told Rossignol at the March 21 council meeting that the mobile home park residents were aware something was happening and were concerned.

“The residents you worry about stirring are stirred,” he said. “It might be time to check on those folks. They want some information so they can make decisions on their lives. They might want these 18 months to figure out what they are going to do. So the sooner you have those conversations, the sooner that we can assist you.”

Newbridge residents in attendance at April 4’s council meeting said they still had not heard from the developers about future plans.

“It’s really hard to communicate with them,” Ashley Smith told council members. “Whenever you call, no one ever answers the line.”

Smith said she has been told not to worry about anything when it comes to the signs put up about rezoning hearings.

“I guess it’s the lack of communication for us to know what’s going on,” she said.

The development agreement stipulates Newbridge will remove all remaining mobile homes and dilapidated structures and discontinue operations of the property as a mobile home park. It also will move the residents at the company’s expense to lots at Georgia Homes at Coastal Oaks.

Benjamin Roque, who said he has been living at Oakview for 15 years, said he had not spoken with anybody about the plans prior to the April 4 council meeting.

Newby, who was not in attendance at the previous meeting because of a training session, questioned why residents had not been told about the plans to turn the mobile home park into a new development.

“If someone had told me I had 18 months to move out of my home, I’d probably be mad too,” he said. “I understand the process. I’m not sure things are going the way they need to go. The people who are affected the most don’t have any information.”

In a statement Wednesday morning, Newbridge officials said they intend to have those meetings soon.

Ricketson pointed out that the new development needs city water and sewer, which will come with annexation. But if Newbridge does not live up to its end of the agreement, he reiterated, the city does not have to go ahead with the annexation.

“The agreement specifically states the developer will relocate the tenants within 18 months free of cost,” City Manager Kenneth Howard said. “The developer was hesitant about contacting all the tenants because she was not sure the agreement was not going to be signed off on.

“What we can do is ensure the developer coordinate with staff as they go through the process and we can develop a listing of those tenants and as they are relocated and we can make sure it is done in accordance with the agreement. Prior to any move, they must coordinate with myself and Mr. Ricketson to ensure that what has been stated we have that conversation prior to anything being done.”

Newbridge officials said in a statement Wednesday morning they are “committed to doing right by residents of the Live Oak and Oak View mobile home communities, particularly during the upcoming relocation.”

“We understand the importance of home and are taking every measure necessary to ensure tenants have a successful transition to the Coastal Oaks mobile home community,” the statement continued. “We’re actively working with Hinesville officials to ensure an inclusive and transparent plan and process. As part of this process, we will be hosting individual meetings with tenants to understand their unique situations and to address their needs in May and June 2024.

“Overall, we are confident Coastal Oaks offers residents many upsides, including modern infrastructure and a convenient, central location that will be adjacent to the future home of the Boys & Girls Club of Liberty County.

“We remain committed to providing affordable housing options for all residents and to the successful completion of this project in a manner that fosters positive outcomes for all stakeholders.”

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