The eviction of the Stones and others comes about a year after Pete's Harbor owner Paula Uccelli and Colorado-based developer Pauls Corporation received approval of their proposal by the city to close down the harbor and build a new 411-unit luxury waterfront housing community. At the time, live-aboard residents were given until January of this year to move out.
Patch was alerted to the Stones' eviction by James Lee Han, secretary for grassroots organization and incorporated non-profit Save Pete's Harbor. Han said today that while the battle might be over for the live-aboards, it is still very much alive when it comes to fighting for public access to the waterfront. According to Han, the development has been kicked back to the Redwood City Planning Commission for further review.
Click on the video above for an interview with Buckley Stone and the security restrictions at Pete's Harbor.
As reported in a January Patch article, Buckley Stone has lived at the harbor for 20 years. Stone says that last year when Paula Ucelli, a friend and owner of the harbor, announced she was planning on selling the harbor, their relationship changed.
"Their whole attitude toward us changed, to something like we were freeloaders who felt entitled to be here. Since then, we've been used, abused and discarded."
For Buckley, though, leaving is a lot scarier than just worrying about honoring his eviction notice - Buckley receives regular healthcare from the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital. Living on their boat in Redwood City is a necessity as much as a lifestyle choice---being in close proximity to the VA is crucial to Buckley, whose compromised immune system and other ailments mean he has to travel to the VA for treatments sometimes as often as twice a week.
Wednesday at about 10:30 a.m., Wendy Stone said six sheriff's deputies showed up at their boat, which is docked in the Pete's Harbor marina.
"He told us to get our stuff and to leave. We were trying to decide what was the best way was to get the boat ready to go and we were told to hurry it up because he had other evictions to get to," Wendy said.
They were was told they had little time to gather his belongings and sail away. Buckley was given 20 days to move his other two sailboats that remain on the
water in "G Dock".
Two weeks ago, contractors descended on Pete's Harbor with no notice to tenants and began removing docks and pilings from the outer marina.
The Stones have been in and out of San Mateo County Court in recent weeks with their attorney Alison Madden. On Tuesday, Wendy said the judge told them there was nothing he could do to halt the eviction.
"There goes the marina," lamented Buckley as he watched flatbed trucks haul away docks and cranes suck pilings from the bay.
When you are a live-aboard tenant, as in the Stones' case, being evicted is much more complicated than packing a suitcase, filling a few boxes, grabbing the pets and walking out the front door. The Stones had to prepare their boat, which they own, and find another place to dock on short notice.
An added complication are the turbidity curtains, which hang below the water at the entrance to the marina keeping any watercraft from entering or exiting. Those curtains are controlled by the harbormaster, Georgio Garelli.
While Buckley singlehandedly moved the sailboat moved out of the slip, Wendy moved the couples cars out of the marina parking lot. She made arrangements with Rich Ferrari who manages the Redwood City Municipal Marina to dock their boat for a week until they can make other arrangements. The couple's cat was placed in the boat's galley for safe keeping during the transition.
The couple owns a second, smaller sailboat, Spirit, which is also docked in Pete's Harbor and must be moved. A third boat, owned by Buckley's brother will also be sailed out of the harbor.
Stone has spoken to Patch and other media sources over the past few months about the situation at Pete's Harbor, and until this morning, he and Wendy were holding out hope that everything will work out. But he says, this is never a fight he imagined finding himself in the middle of.
"I'm not trying to cause trouble, and I certainly never wanted to be an activist," he said.
"We hung in there until the last minute and did everything we could, but we went down with the ship," Buckley added.
Bay City News contributed to this article.