In voting to recommend approval of a development agreement Wednesday night with Village Trailer Park LLC, the Santa Monica Planning Commission said it sought to soften the blow to residents .
The vote was unanimous. If ultimately approved by the City Council, the agreement will pave for an mixed use project consisting of hundreds of apartments and condos and retail and office space on the property at 2930 Colorado Ave.
Construction would force the relocation of dozens of existing mobile homes and their owners. In exchange, they stand to receive money and services, but the amounts are up for negotiation.
The Planning Commission wants to see tenants who move to the new apartments collect $1,652 per month in rental subsidies from the developer until the units are move-in ready. The draft agreement says they'll have 30 days to decide to lease a unit in the new "East Village." Commissioners want to extend it to 45 days.
Residents who opt to not to live in one of the shiny new condos, will receive at least $18,500 to relocate their trailers elsewhere.
Commissioners said they want to treat the tenants "like kings and queens."
Among the other conditions they are seeking: compensation or $500 cash for the cost of moving; case management services for the elderly and disabled; and the option for residents to own, whether its an existing trailer they've relocated or a new one purchased by the developer, if they relocate to Mountain View Mobile Home Park, also in Santa Monica.
Most of the residents object to the development and don't want to move.
Brenda Barnes, one of the most vocal and active residents, scoffed at the notion that they were being treated like royalty.
"Are you serious? I like the analogy to kings and queens—for the opposite reason from that used by the wrong-headed commissioner who used it—because we are homeowners. 'A man's home is his castle,'" she said.
As proposed, the project consists of 480 new apartments and condos and 30,000 square feet of retail outlets and offices. The plans for the project have changed in the past few months, with the developer scaling back the amount of commercial floor space, while increasing the housing and amount of walkways and gathering spaces for outdoor dining and parks.
But some commissioners said Thursday they still aren't satisfied with the design, which they perceive as too bulky and not including enough open spaces.
Of the 480 residential units, 147 would be rent-controlled. Planning Commissioners want to increase the number that would be restricted for tenants with "very low" and "low" incomes from 38 to 62.
Commissioners also recommended that residents who relocate to Santa Monica's other mobile home park, Mountain View Trailer Park, get the option to own, whether its an existing trailer they've relocated or a new one purchased by the developer.