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Park Developer Considers Saving Some Trailers

A limited number of mobile homes could remain under a new design by the Luzzatto Co., which is seeking to build a disputed commercial/residential project at the existing Village Trailer Park.

Fewer than 20 mobile homeowners, who for years have face the likelihood of forced relocation, might have the opportunity to remain at even when a big development projects erupts alongside them.

Six years after announcing plans to close the park completely and replace it with 378,500 square feet of condos, apartments and retail outlets, developer Marc Luzzatto says he is reconfiguring plans and exploring the possibility of preserving some of the trailers.

All previous iterations of plans for the new "East Village"—which still needs City Council approval—called for the complete razing of the trailer park.

"We’re sort of cautiously optimistic that we could come up with a plan… to designate a portion of the site as a trailer park while developing the rest of it," said Maxwell Baldi, a spokesman for the Luzzatto Co. "It would involve a limited number of tenants."

Baldi said the company is looking to preserve the difference in the number of trailers that exist currently, which is 42, and the number available at Santa Monica's other mobile home park, Mountain View, which is between 25 and 32, he said.

Many of the trailer owners have objected to the park's closure. One of the most vocal detractors, Brenda Barnes, was unsatisfied by the latest proposal. 

"We are not going to compromise our RIGHTS so this wannabe can make millions," she wrote in an email.

Marc Luzzatto, president of the company's general partner, Village Trailer Park LLC, told the City Council about the new tack in a memo Aug. 9. In the letter, he asked the council to postpone its consideration of the East Village, which was on the Aug. 28 agenda:

We want to consider whether we could reconfigure our project preserving some trailer spaces and thus, allowing some residents of the Village Trailer Park community to remain on a portion in a portion of the trailer park.

The memo continues:

While we cannot predict if we will develop any revised version of the project that would be acceptable to use, while also addressing these community issues, we are cautiously optimistic about the outcome of our inquiry.

The new proposal isn't fully fleshed out. It could be ready for the City Council to review in an as soon as October, Baldi said.

On July 25, until Aug. 28, saying it would take multiple meetings to mull over the development's impact on the community and mobile home owners.

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Brenda Barnes August 15, 2012 at 06:54 PM
The two main things for people to realize are we own our own homes, and state law and rent control both protect us from eviction. These facts mean the City's conspiring with developers to try to force us to agree to move is a danger to everyone. If you own your own home, and think the law protects your property rights, what happens if the City and developers want YOUR home because they can make millions more than if they let you keep owning it? No one is safe from unlawful governmental officials bought out by big money.
Oliver Wendall Holmes August 15, 2012 at 10:10 PM
The park should be closed. Period. The people of Santa Monica need this development and it will benefit all those people. What are the trailer park denizens willing to do for the people of Santa Monica? Nothing but stop development for the public good. And certainly no good should come to 'Johnny come lately's' who appear on the scene well after all these events are in play. Look at the history of the complainants. What vetting of their credibility? None? Is that acceptable journalism? Is there another motivation here?
Richard B August 16, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Keep the park open and let the people stay. it is obvious the city is in bed with the developers. They gobble up all the land and build crap. There should be an in depth investigation regarding the city and the developers. The city does not need any more development. Except the subway to the sea ! We have enough new ugly condos for the rich -not for the regular people.
Robert Stover August 17, 2012 at 04:22 AM
The The Water Garden and the Yahoo complex both have thousands of square feet of office space sitting vacant right now. There's no demand to be in that area of town. The Silicon Beach startup scene is much more focused on 3rd and Main Street. I just don't see a need for the "people of Santa Monica" to have yet one more massive office building with hundreds of additional cars trying to pile into the neighborhood every morning. Ultimately the responsibility is on the developer to put together a reasonable plan that will benefit everyone. If he can reach a fair and ethical deal with the remaining residents AND come up with a plan worthy enough to justify demolishing a historic part of Santa Monica then by all means go right ahead. However, if he can't, the low income seniors who have made this park their home for years or decades shouldn't be thrown out on the street because the developer made a bad investment and can't find a solution. Is there no such thing as charm any more in our city? Have we forgotten what Santa Monica used to be like? Are we really going to throw 40 or 50 senior citizens out on the street with a little pocket change and bulldoze our history just we we can have another partially leased office building? Come on people. Everyone knows what the right answer is here.
George August 17, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Chez Jay is another place that needs your support if you appreciate our dwindling local historical places. On Sept. 10th at 7PM at City Hall the city's Landmark Commission will vote on its landmark status. Chez Jay could definitely use your support! If anyone objects to its designation as a landmark it could come before City Council so it's very important that the City Council see the public support on Sept. 10th. Remember: 4 city council seats are up for re-election in November. They work for US and not vice versa! www.facebook.com/savechezjay

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