A 6-foot-tall chain link fence installed by the owner of Suni Sands mobile home park has some of remaining residents fuming.
“We no longer have access to the water. We can’t bring our kayaks to the beach. It blocks the view,” said Tom Ryan, president of the Suni Sands Homeowners Association.
The fence was installed with town permission by representatives of developer Charles Modica, who bought the park for about $16 million three years ago. Preliminary plans show Modica plans to move out the mobile homes and build an inn, restaurant, retail and offices.
“Some residents complained non-residents were coming on the property. It’s private property and we are protecting it,” said Jeff Collins, the project manager.
Residents, who rent their lots, have received eviction notices. About two dozen remain in the the park that once had about 100 mobile homes. Saying the sale of the park should be voided on those grounds, some filed a lawsuit that is winding through Palm Beach Circuit Court.
Residents were not and should have been given first refusal to buy the property, according to the lawsuit.
The remaining residents say they won’t budge until the court case is settled.
Meanwhile, many of mobile home slabs are vacant. Other remaining mobile homes are abandoned. The dock is closed. So is the clubhouse and laundry. The pool is drained. A sign at the entrance with big red letters says “PARK CLOSED.”
A 1906-built boathouse has been demolished. Plans call replacing it with a new 6,000-square-foot building with boat storage and an open rooftop area overlooking the Jupiter Inlet.
The town council recently denied a proposal to pay Suni Sands residents $5,000 each to help them with moving costs.
But the remaining residents aren’t budging.
Six-year Suni Sands resident Tom Paquette, sitting on his wooden deck that’s close enough to the Jupiter Inlet to cast in a fishing line, says he’ll stay until he has to leave.
“This is a beautiful place. I’m going to stay here as long as I can,” Paquette said as feeding pelicans plop headfirst in the Jupiter Inlet and paddle boarders drift by.