Trailer Park Developer Sues City for $50 Million

UPDATED: "It’s just not fair to lead us down the path for six years and cause us to spend huge sums of money," Village Trailer Park developer tells the Santa Monica LookOut.

This story was updated at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9.

The owners of Village Trailer Park have filed a lawsuit against the city that seeks more than $50 million in damages and threatens to shut down the park unless a development agreement for the site is re-approved, the Santa Monica LookOut reported.

The suit was filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to the LookOut. The case reportedly center's on the Santa Monica City Council's December decision to overturn its earlier approval of a development agreement for 25,000 square feet of retail space and 377 apartments at the trailer park.

According to the local news website:

The suit maintains that the action was illegal because, though the Council has 31 days after an ordinance approving a [development agreement] is passed to change its mind, it must follow the same steps required for passing the ordinance.

An ordinance must go before the Council twice, for a first and a second reading, before it is approved.

"I believe that the City Council knows full well that the action at the December 11 hearing cannot undo the City’s commitments,” Village Trailer Park co-owner Marc Luzzatto told the Lookout. "It’s just not fair to lead us down the path for six years and cause us to spend huge sums of money and lose so much money operating the park and then take away the City’s agreement."

The development agreement approval was nixed after six years of negotiations when two new City Council members—Ted Winterer and Tony Vazquez—were installed, replacing former Mayor Richard Bloom, who had voted in favor of the development agreement in November and Bobby Shriver, who had abstained. 

Winterer and Vazquez joined McKeown and councilwoman Gleam Davis in voting 4-3 in favor of reopening negotiations with the property owner in the hopes of securing more affordable housing at the site.

For the full story on the Village Trailer Park lawsuit, click over to surfsantamonica.com.


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Brenda Barnes March 17, 2013 at 06:41 AM
The City has agreed to his demands and it's all going forward on Tues the 19th. We're filing a homeowners' claim against the City and the Rent Control Board on the 18th, for $59 million. This will result in a real lawsuit, not a pretend one like Luzzatto's. They knew it wasn't real, since he filed the lawsuit the same day he filed his claim. Claims have to be denied or 45 days have to pass b/4 you can file a lawsuit. They pretended they--with City Attorneys up the gazoo, who do this work day-in day-out for years, so there is no way they would miss such a mistake on claims law--believed his lawsuit was real, and met in closed session week after week about it. Oh well, now they can meet in closed session about a real one until they settle it, as LA did the Lincoln Place case.
Dan Charney March 17, 2013 at 11:50 PM
And may you prevail before the fact -not after they bulldoze it- it should be transparent which developer has contributed what to whom - all those DA's should be denied- and all consultants who are the "new wave" of developer support- fired- but this one- the VTP is very important not just for the total civil injustice of it- but for the precedent- they must not get away with doing this to homeowners- and what an absurd design concept for this choking area- more power to you Brenda-
Brenda Barnes March 18, 2013 at 06:13 AM
Thank you for your support, and I see you've had a sex change! The Lincoln Place tenants all came back, after 7 years of free rent and then $8 million in damages. And they are just tenants, not homeowners. It is wrong to displace tenants or anyone for development--the City used the 1994 earthquake as an excuse to do that. State law allows landlords to go out of business, but it takes the City allowing building more than they have to lead to demolition. The Council voluntarily chooses to do it because they get $3-5 million from each developer, and then use that to get grants and money from other gov't, averaging nine times as much. That's how they had $55 million to waste on two blocks of park in front of City Hall. So they have one employee per 35 residents and waste money hand over fist. Every consent calendar there is $300-500,000 mores in overruns, on top of the huge amounts they entered into for contracts. VTP is unique. The 2/2/13 LA Times on p. E9 has an article about people restoring vintage trailers into hotels with rooms at $150 a night. I love living here, and I've lived in several mansions. They were not so quiet and peaceful, or surrounded by wildlife, both flora and fauna. I also had to work all the time to pay my mortgages, which I don't here. It's such a great place, right in the middle of what was a great City and still is a great location. The typical outcome is an injunction against demolition, since that is irreparable harm.
Dan Charney March 19, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Yes - the operation was a success !!! Nothing like being an idiot with tech stuff- bless Jenna Chandler for telling me how to finally change it- hahahah- as for the rest of it- "somethings gotta give"- I love living where I do too - and no question with the greening of 4th ST and OP -I am looking at a grim situation I think-
Brenda Barnes March 19, 2013 at 06:44 AM
Let's hope it's long enough in the future for you that we can organize and stop this runaway train, or Hurricane Lucee, nee LUCE, as Armen Melkonians calls the Council's overdevelopment and bad planning. What a combination!


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