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Closure, Disputed Development of Trailer Park OK'd

Ending six years of negotiations, City Council votes 4-2 in favor of hundreds of new apartments being built at Santa Monica's last remaining mobile home parks.

It probably won't get sweeter than this, City Council members seemed to say Wednesday of the package of "community benefits" negotiated with a developer who owns and intends to close one of Santa Monica's two remaining mobile home parks.

In a 4-2 vote, the council approved an agreement that allows 377 apartments and condos and nearly 25,000 square feet of retail outlets to be built where Village Trailer Park stands today, on the eastern edge of Santa Monica. Gleam Davis and Kevin McKeown voted against the agreement.

Additionally, it OK'd a state mandated environmental review that found the project, called "The East Village, would create "significant" and "unavoidable" traffic impacts.

The agreement was required because the land was zoned strictly for mobile homes and child care uses. In exchange for green-lighting the commercial development, the agreement offers relocation options and benefits for residents who will lose their trailer spaces at the park once it's developed. After negotiating for six years, some of the council members said the those benefits weren't likely to get any better.

"These options were hard fought," said councilman Terry O'Day at Wednesday's meeting.

Many of the residents, some of whom are elderly, have fought the development since 2006. They've described Village Park as tight-knit community void of crime and altogether irreplaceable.

O'Day and the other council members who voted in favor of the development agreement—Mayor Richard Bloom, Bob Holbrook and Pam O'Connor—pointed to the project being smaller by 28,490 square feet than what was originally proposed. They also highlighted that plans call for retaining 10 of the 109 trailer spaces while they initially proposed saving none. (Fewer than 40 of the spaces are currently occupied).

"I thought the previous plan was a win-win, but [after] hearing from the community, it became clear... [this] is a better plan because it leaves some people on site," said owner Marc Luzzatto.

Displaced residents will chose from among a number of options valued between $18,000 and $85,000. One of the more popular will likely be the option to move into a new manufactured trailer—paid for the developer—at at Mountain View Mobile Home Park. That option and three others also include $1,500 payments for moving costs.

None of the options, however, include a requirement the developer pay for the "in-place" value of the trailers being located in Santa Monica.

"One concern we share is [that] the people who live on this property now be failry treated and not evicted without an recourse," said councilman McKeown.

He called the community benefits "questionable," especially because of the strain relocating will put on elderly residents.

One of the most ardent opponents of the development, Village Trailer Park resident Brenda Barnes, said Mountain View Trailer Park is on "the wrong side of town."

It's a "totally unacceptable alternative," she said.

Other community benefits include: a $1.65 million payment to the city to improve transportation infrastructure in the area; $350,000 for services for seniors, the disabled and families with children; and $179,000 in childcare tuition subsidies.

Outgoing councilman Bobby Shriver was absent from the meeting.

Glenn E Grab November 16, 2012 at 03:09 PM
yesterday at about 2 in the afternoon, I drove from Bundy and Sunset to Culver City, taking Bundy all the way there....it took me 40 minutes.....going through Santa Monica was a traffic nightmare....this will only make it worse....
lahope November 16, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I wonder how much the developers contributed to Richard Bloom's campaign? Win win for the council members and the developers. Big lose for the residents of Santa Monica. How many more people can these greedy council members squeeze into three square miles?
TC November 16, 2012 at 03:31 PM
It's amazing what A city will do for money.
Mary Sanders November 16, 2012 at 07:49 PM
What is even more amazing is that in the last election the incumbents won!!!!! How in the world could Santa Monicans have voted for these same council members? At least I can say that I did not vote them in again!
Richard Sproul November 16, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Wrong to have this Apartment Condo Project approved! I have lost count how many Condominium, Apartment Projects have been built in Santa Monica in the last few Years! I just saw another huge Hole being dug at Seventh and Arizona. Shocking!
Elizabeth Hurlburt November 16, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Being able to live in a mobile home is one of the few ways that people of modest means have as a path to home ownership and having more than a one room apartment. What kind of income will be required to live in those apartments and condos? Not everyone in LA works in the industry. Even low level office workers don't make three times the rent on a little one bedroom apartment in this town which, as we all know, is the requirement. What about the strain on our over crowded school system? The fat cats don't care. They can send their kids to private school.
Cin November 16, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I don't know how they won either! I didn't vote for them either. More traffic, there's more and more sell out here every day. Shame on you Santa Monica City Council! What I want to know, is how much money on the side did they get? Everyone knows it happens, a nice trip here or there, thanks for large donation to my kids school or my charity , etc. . . . This city has no longer the charm it once had. Too bad for us Santa Monica residents that we have lost our wonderful city to this bought out city council.
Dan Charney November 16, 2012 at 09:46 PM
This is a Bloom special- my hope for Gleam just skyrocketed- an alternative to Community Core and its restrictions and applications must be found- and fast- to say this will ease traffic is not true- it will make it much much worse- let's face it- with this council- we are over- NYC by the sea- with nerds everywhere texting in their frat boy outfits and the women in their stilettos and silly suits. This town is over.
Christina Cox November 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I think people just vote for the lawn sign they saw last/most. It took my husband and me about a week of late nights reading everything on the ballot which is fine but some people don't have time for that. I hope it was uninformed voting and not a choice.
Christina Cox November 16, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Please write to the City Council to tell them what you think about this!! Here are some topics: putting people out of their homes, creating traffic & how fast their knees hit the floor for money. council@smgov.com (this will go to all members of the City Council)
Mei Ling November 16, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Another sign of progre$$ at the expense of peoples' lives. If I could time travel I would go back to the 50's....when Santa Monica was a serene city by the beach. Now it can compete with the other cement cities.
Monica Bey November 16, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I agree with Richard S. ... there have been an astounding number of apartment developments in Santa Monica in recent years. Super tiny spaces for big bucks -- someone is making a pile o' jack. I suppose the expectation from the city is that this is to be viewed as a "win-win" in that the displaced residents will be compensated and the city gets goodies, but overall -- not having followed this one too closely -- looks like another "win" for developers.
Mei Ling November 16, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I wrote to all the council members regarding the trash bin next to Chez Jay...didn't matter. I think it is true that you can't fight City Hall. All they want is money.
Christina Cox November 16, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Mei Ling- I know what you mean. I did talk to someone about the details - it seems that the trash enclosure was permitted before the Landmark status was granted. Nobody told the contractor to stop and since they'd already done the drainage etc. it was almost done anyway. I don't have all the details though - just the ones I can find word of mouth. But this trailer park village is really a disaster too! People being expelled from their homes to make money?? And the traffic will be horrible. Anyway, I feel it's useless to contact the City Council right now too - especially when the voters keep voting for them.
Christina Cox November 16, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Here's a link to who paid the candidates: http://www.smmirror.com/articles/News/Big-Bucks-Saturate-Santa-Monica-In-The-Lead-Up-To-Tuesdays-Council-Election/35953
Valerie Ferguson November 16, 2012 at 11:38 PM
What ever happened to SM being a green city? How can the city be labeled as such when there is so much over development going on and now they want to add a railway which means more space being taken away and (even) more people coming in creating an even greater amount of traffic congestion. SM use to have a train coming thru when my family moved here in 1968; but that was when there were not as many people living and visiting here as there is now.
Cin November 17, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Thanks for Council's email address. This is the email I just sent them: To the City Council Members: As a resident of Santa Monica, I think you should be ashamed of yourselves for changing this lovely city into a traffic nightmare and now being called Silicon Beach. You've sold out to the real developers for the sake of money. I, for one, did not vote for you and I not ashamed to admit! Just one thing, I want to know what you got out of this personally? Be honest, I know the game and how it works. You may have not benefited directly, but I'm sure with the way politics run these days you received something indirectly. How sad this city has become with your incomprehensible decisions. Traffic, traffic and more traffic and not enough parking, a new Santa Monica Place that is usually empty and caters only to tourists and new Nazi style anti smoking regulations. I understand the smoking issue, but to tell citizens to report whether or not a unit is smoking or not is Marxian socialism. Sincerely, A long time resident of Santa Monica
Cin November 17, 2012 at 02:18 AM
The address is council@smgov.NET and not .COM
A. November 17, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Unless the State of California has changed their laws, cities are mandated to continue to supply more and more housing. The amount of housing units that are mandated in each region of the state depend on future migration and population estimates coming from the Regional Housing Needs Assessment. Don't blame the city council for the added housing and the traffic that comes along with it. Blame the Southern California Association of Governments who mandate these insane housing numbers. If a city fails to comply with the housing needs assessment, they risk losing funds from regional and state governmental sources so local cities don't have much of a choice but to comply, or risk the loss of even more state money.
Saint Monica November 17, 2012 at 02:53 AM
yep, more traffic for us locals to fight while the city council fills their pockets....
Roberto Gomez November 17, 2012 at 03:22 AM
RECALL! Don't just complain!
A. November 17, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Bundy Drive is not in Santa Monica, it is in Los Angeles.
Zina Josephs November 18, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Regarding the SCAG housing goals, I've heard that the last SCAG goal for Santa Monica was 622 new housing units, which the city exceeded by 233% (1,543 have been built since 2006). The next SCAG goal for Santa Monica is 1,674 new housing units, while the goal for Beverly Hills is 3 units. One explanation I heard for the difference was that the Expo LIne is coming to Santa Monica, but not to Beverly Hills. City Council member Pam O'Connor is the Santa Monica representative on the SCAG Board.
Roberto Gomez November 18, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Ms. Cox, I have started the Recall of Pam O'Connor and Bob Holbrook. I will turn in the intial 100 signatures that are required by the City Clerk to actually start the Recall. Would you like to sign my intitial Recall papers. Or perhaps to help in the Recall effort. I do need lots of help. You and others can respond to this plea for help by emailing me at RecallPamOconnorBobHolbrook@gmail.com. I would rather you and others respond to me by email rather than post on here. I have all the details on the necessary steps and requirements for a Recall. Any help that can be provided would be most welcome. What do you say?
Glenn E Grab November 18, 2012 at 05:59 AM
zina, you mean the city exceeded the goal by 133%, not 233%
Glenn E Grab November 18, 2012 at 06:00 AM
yeah, but the city doesn;t get much revenue from trailers
Christina Cox November 18, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Sorry - it's council@smgov.net (Thanks, Cin!)
JohnCySmith.com November 19, 2012 at 08:52 PM
The lesson here is to turn your comments into activism so the outcome is different two years from now. The facts Zina Josephs mentions show that the pace and scale of development in Santa Monica goes far beyond what is needed. It does not have to be this way, but change is only possible through dedication and engagement and the will of residents to effect a different outcome in 2014. Be the change.
Jamie Z November 26, 2012 at 04:34 AM
The serene 50's were a pretty racist place...Not sure you would feel as welcome as you are now...

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