Plans to raze one of the city's last remaining trailer parks are being altered and trailer owners given more specifics about their potential relocation benefits.
More than a dozen residents attended a meeting Monday night at called by landowner and developer, Marc Luzzatto, to discuss the new plans and benefits. He didn't let reporters into the meeting, but said afterward that it was “very productive."
“I also let them know we have elected to go with a primarily residential project,” Luzzatto said.
The housing component of the proposed development has mushroomed from 70 percent to 93 percent. Earlier plans called for the construction of four new buildings and 70 percent of the 399,581 square foot floor area dedicated to housing with 166 apartments and 227 condos. Under the old plans, the remaining square footage would have been dedicated to "creative office" space and retail.
"In speaking to a lot of members of the community and in public hearings, it seemed people wanted moreresidential, and people wanted a balance," Luzzatto said.
Still, the changes upset Catherine Eldridge, co-chair of the community’s Neighborhood Homeowners Association. She, along with a number of other residents, have spent months reviewing and critiquing the blueprints.
“He’s changed the design of the project at the last minute,” she said. “The EIR and Tenant Impact Report prior to this were based on a different design, and he can’t do that. You can’t switch projects at the end of the day.”
Eldridge said residents walked out of the meeting feeling "more committed to demanding their rights."
Not wanting to lose their homes in a community they cherish for being tight-knit and safe, residents have fought the plans for development since they were first announced in 2006.
The proposed relocation options now include moving residents to , to rental apartments managed by , to the new apartments once they are built at the current site of Village Trailer Park, or receiving a cash payment of $20,000 if they move prior to June 30 or $18,500 if they move after that date, according to Luzzatto.
“He wants the city to take up the burden of relocating,” Eldridge said. “He’s not offering anything comparable to what we already have by right. He wants people to walk away and leave the mortgage-free homes they own and go from home ownership to a publicly-subsidized rental situation at the taxpayers' expense.”
Brenda Barnes stood outside of the meeting, handing flyers to residents which detailed how the relocation options match up compared to what each resident should be “entitled to by law.”
“I think we’re entitled to $450,000 each because there’s not another mobile home park in Santa Monica we can move to,” Barnes said.
Ralph Meyer, has called Village Trailer Park, located at 2930 Colorado Avenue, just east of 26th Street, home for more than 30 years. He said he only stayed at the meeting long enough to look at the architectural drawings before leaving.
“That was enough,” Meyer said. “I just didn’t think it was worthwhile going. We purchased the home with the assurance we could live in the home or sell the home and not have our home confiscated which is what it amounts to.”
A couple of police officers were on site during the meeting, and Susan Millmann, an attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, was also on hand to observe, saying she has clients who live at the 109-unit trailer park.
Some area residents say they feel sympathy for the residents.
“I think it’s really sad they’re breaking up a community that’s been here for decades,” said Carla Jave who lives nearby. “It’s part of Santa Monica culture. They preserve historic buildings, but they don’t think of breaking up a village.”
All of the developer's plans will be finalized in a proposal scheduled to go before the city's Planning Department on May 9, Luzzatto said.