To The Daily Sun,
Everyone has heard of Briarcrest. It's a manufactured housing park consisting of 240 very well maintained homes on the the side of Prescott Hill, within a hop, skip and jump and Laconia and Winnisquam, Paugus, Opechee and Lake Winnipesaukee, and in the distance you can see Mt. Washington. We are very proud of our community and three and a half years ago, Mark and Ruth Mooney put in up for sale for $10 million.
During our formation, our very hardworking resident investment banker, our resident Merrrimack County administrator and many, may other hardworking, talented individuals — joined eventually by our resident paralegal — worked closely with ROC and formed a co-op to govern ourselves. ROC USA is a New Hampshire social venture working to make quality ownership viable for homeowners in manufactured home parks. ROC has helped 120 parks in New Hampshire become self owners of efficient and affordable homes in economically secure, healthy and socially vibrant resident-owned communities and not one park has reverted back to private ownership. Through much acrimony and even litigation, many long hours and many learning experiences, we successfully became a co-op, governed by a seven-member volunteer board of directors and volunteer committees.
Now our co-op is threatened by the same buyer from Chicago who originally made an offer to buy Briarcrest: Hometown America. Our second board of directors has been negotiating with Hometown since November, unbeknownst to the majority of the 230 resident owners not on the board. Originally, we were assured that we would never be sold again and I, for one, believed it. But the current board of directors has been in direct contact and providing financial information to Hometown America without our knowledge or the membership's authorization to do so. We believe this is a breach of trust. The board is attempting to limit our discussions and have made a date for Hometown America to make a presentation to the membership and a date for a special membership meeting, although they have yet to tell us what we will be voting for. A group of residents has already sponsored and held a well-attended meeting for information from ROC on cooperative ownership in general and the overall healthy financial condition of our co-op.
Some of our new owners are not aware of the serious consequences of a vote for a private owner such as Hometown America and their ability to raise our rents hundreds of dollars to help pay its own considerable debt, or to sell us to another buyer. We lose all control over our rents, rules and management. Also, their plan is to limit our community to "over 55," Last year we decisively tabled their idea. Personally, I like seeing young people around.
Hometown America's reputation is less than stellar and squeaky clean and this is proven by going to www.hometownamerica/complaints and rip-offs. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Hometown in states in which they own parks. We, as a co-op, want to maintain our low rents, our own governorship, and our beautiful community. We urge all residents and members to attend our co-op meeting the last Saturday of every month at 10:30 a.m. at the Briarcrest clubhouse. Coffee and refreshments for early arrivals.
The Laconia Daily Sun has been our greatest public outlet to help keep our residents informed. Everyone reads The Sun.
- Category: Letters
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