REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) — A floating community the Bay Area Peninsula facing eviction is vowing to not go down without a fight.
Redwood City has ordered 70 houseboats in the area known as “Docktown” to pack up and move out.
But a group of Docktown residents calling themselves The Bitter Enders say they aren’t going anywhere and are fighting the city’s eviction order to be out by February 28.
“Come March 1st, I don’t plan on having moved,” said Dockton resident and attorney Allison Madden. “I will be here. My son will be here.”
Madden is challenging the eviction order in court, one of five lawsuits residents have filed to keep living in their floating homes.
“We will continue to pay rent and we believe that a defense to any eviction is that we have a lawsuit pending,” said Madden.
Docktown has been around since the 1960s, one of the last of its kind communities in the Bay Area.
The 70 homes range from small sailboats to comfortable, two-story floating homes like Diane Dicosola’s. She has lived here since 2002.
“Like anybody who doesn’t want to move, it’s very sad,” said Dicosola.
Residents say the city has been trying to close the marina for years. But the latest effort is based on a complaint from a nearby condo owner who says the docks, built on Redwood Creek, violate state laws to have open access to the channel.
“Residential use of this area, the water is not allowed, even though there are floating communities in Sausalito, San Francisco and Alameda,” said resident Lee Callister. “Those communities were granted grandfather status. We have been unable to be grandfathered, which should have been the solution here.”
Redwood City is compensating residents with taxpayer money to the tune of $20 million. Some residents with larger homes are getting hundreds of thousands of dollars to leave.
Some of the homes and boats will be auctioned off or destroyed. Resident Efrat Berman was offered $3,750 for her houseboat, plus three months rent, and a $10,000 bonus for agreeing to leave on time.
But Berman said she won’t be able to live anywhere nearby for the $600 a month she now pays in rent.
“My options are being homeless in Redwood City or moving someplace two hours away where I can live, but I may not have work,” said Berman.