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|Santa Monica Planning Commission to Weigh in on Village Trailer Park|
By Jason Islas
May 29, 2012 -- Santa Monica's Planning Commission will take up the fate of the Village Trailer Park Wednesday after more than three dozen speakers weighed in last week on a nearly 500-unit residential project proposed for the site.
Last week's commission meeting ran until close to midnight, with speakers split roughly down the middle on whether the City should enter into a Development Agreement (DA) that would spell the death of one of Santa Monica's two remaining trailer parks.
On Wednesday the commission will finally deliberate and vote on the DA, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and the Tenant Impact Report for the controversial project, which the Landmarks Commission did not have the authority to designate a landmark.
“This is one of the most emotionally charged discussions that we've ever had,” said Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon. “That's what makes it so hard.”
Currently, there are 38 tenants left in the 61-year-old trailer park tucked away in the industrial area near the city's eastern border who will have to find new housing once the park closes.
As part of the agreement negotiated with the park owners, those tenants will get assistance, including financial help with moving costs, or a first right of refusal for one of the 38 low-income or extremely low-income units in the new development.
Developers have recently increased the number of units they are proposing from 393 to 486, which is one of the options studied in the Environmental Impact Report, according to City Staff.
Of the 486 units, 339 will be market rate condos and 147 will be rent-controlled units, according to the staff report. The mixed-use development will also have 8,650 square feet of creative office space and nearly 17,780 square feet for neighborhood retail space.
Although many of the residents are not happy about having to move, the City contends there isn't much that can be done.
“State law allows Park Owner to go out of the mobile home park business but he must comply with the requirements of Government Code,” staff told the Commission.
So far, owner Marc Luzzatto has.
In March, when residents complained of uninhabited trailers being demolished and questioned whether the proper permits had been filed, he noted that "these are trailers we own."
“We're doing everything completely by the book,” said Luzzatto. “We have the discretion as to how to dispose of the trailers.”
The City agreed, calling the removal of the trailers standard.
Even so, residents are still not happy that they will have to leave their homes and bid farewell to unique way of life that is rapidly fading in the Los Angeles area.
The controversy has even brought out some star power.
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