Trailer Park Development Approved Without Condos

The Santa Monica City Council votes 4-3 in favor of developing one of Santa Monica's last remaining mobile home parks with 377 apartments, but no condominiums.

Village Trailer Park, one of two remaining mobile home parks in Santa Monica, will be converted into a large apartment complex with 377 units and ground-floor retail under a new development agreement approved 4-3 Tuesday night by the City Council.

Opinions on the dais differed about whether the new plan, which does not contain any condominiums, will actually make the project more affordable to future residents. The approval comes as city officials try to persuade private developers to build more "workforce" and family housing, in part to cutback on gridlock caused by commuters.

Under the new Village Trailer Park development agreement—which requires a second vote before it is officially adopted—38 of the 377 apartments will be deed restricted to tenants with "very low" and "extremely low" incomes. An earlier plan restricted 16 of 161 apartments to tenants with "very low" and "low" incomes. There would have also been 216 condos.

Also under the new plan, a small section of the park, enough for 10 of the existing 105 trailers, will remain open under the ownership of the current property owner and developer, Marc Luzzatto. He has the option to shut it down in as soon as five years.

It is "highly probably we will seek to redevelop that parcel," Luzzatto said.

In the earlier plan, Luzzatto agreed to donate the parcel, valued at $2.5 million, to the city so it could retain the 10 trailer pads.

Tuesday's vote was 4-3 with councilmen Tony Vazquez, Kevin McKeown and Ted Winterer dissenting. McKeown and Winterer said the new plan is "arguably worse."

"We're getting a few more units, but with residual parcel, it’s a worse deal," Winterer said.

But maybe this time, the agreement will actually stick.

In December, the council rescinded its approval of an earlier deal with Luzzatto and re-opened negotiations in the hopes of securing more affordable housing at the site. The changes made to the agreement over the past few months swayed Gleam Davis' opinion Tuesday night.

"The shift to an all rental project increases the affordability," she said. "In this day and age... asking a young person... to save up $100,000 to purchase a condo makes that prohibitively expensive."

There were more than a handful of young adults who spoke at Tuesday's meeting to urge the council to approve the agreement, which requires the developer to reach out to nearby employers, such as those at the Colorado Center and Lionsgate Entertainment, when renting the units.

"The project is exactly what the city needs… we desperately need more housing," said Luzzatto, who is a Santa Monica resident. Referring to the earliest of plans submitted to the city, he said the project used to have a much larger commercial component, which could have generated more traffic. It is now 93 percent residential.

In addition to the 38 deed restricted units, 99 have to be rent-controlled at current market rates, according to the plan. "That's also a benefit," Davis said.

A recent study done by the city found only 45 percent of workers in the Bergamot area—which encompases the trailer park—could afford to rent a home in Santa Monica and just 19 percent could afford to buy a condo. One percent could afford to purchase a single family home.

At 2930 Colorado Ave., just east of 26th Street, Village Trailer Park was built in 1951. It was originally one of 11 trailer parks in Santa Monica, providing residents an inexpensive option for home ownership—but is now just one of two.

In the summer of 2006, the park owners announced their intent to close the park, a community described by its residents—many of whom are elderly—as tight-knit, void of crime and altogether irreplaceable. Not wanting to lose their homes, some have fought the plans for development.


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Brenda Barnes March 22, 2013 at 11:00 PM
The argument you make about investments not entitling investors to anything unless it comes from something else certainly applies to Luzzatto. He bought into a rent-controlled property knowing there were 109 separate homeowners he had not made any agreement with or with the RC Board (not that he could under the law make one with the RCB, as indicated in my suit referred to above). Therefore, any investments he made, such as negative cash flow from not renting out spaces when people moved, were just investments on the chance that he could get all approvals needed later. He is not entitled to any of his money back. The situation was the same when rent control first became City Charter law in 1979, and some owners were in the process of converting property from rental to condominiums or demolishing. If they had what the law calls a "vested" right to continue, they could do so, regardless of the fact the new law prohibited what they were doing. However, if their right to continue was deemed to have been not vested when the law passed, any expenditures they made after that--knowing the property would not be allowed to be converted under the new law--were expenditures made--as gamblers say in craps--"on the come," on the chance that they would be allowed by the Board interpreting the law to continue. In the same way, investments homeowners made in their homes before 2006 could not have been knowing their legal right to get investments back would be taken away later.
Brenda Barnes March 22, 2013 at 11:02 PM
We have caught him in numerous lies. He would never meet with us one on one. That is why we present the evidence of his lies, cheating, and thefts of trailers from old and vulnerable people in public. He brought it on himself.
Brenda Barnes March 23, 2013 at 04:36 AM
Well put, Danielle. To say nothing of how courageous it is to kick out old people from homes they invested in and claim some inherent right in land ownership to do that--when it doesn't exist--and then not even have the courage to use your real name. I see the shill words. "Fair and reasonable" and "patient" were in every single shill speech. Five hearings' worth. Irrelevant every time they said it, but that's their story and they stuck to it. Nothing else to say, when you have no rights under applicable law.
Brenda Barnes March 23, 2013 at 04:37 AM
The billion dollar claim was filed against the City.
SMTruthSeeker April 06, 2013 at 04:02 PM
How is it Brenda Barnes, that when I view the video from the city council meeting, several residents either gave testimony, or asked others to give testimony on their behalf that they were ready to move and they feel Marc Luzzatto has treated them MORE than fairly, and yet you imply that the entire resident community feels the same as you? How is it that, when I read the presentation provided by the city, that there are no less than 8 OPTIONS to assist residents in their move? How is it, when I read those options, that you say you are not being provided equitable value for your home, when, in one of the options, A NEW HOME WILL BE PURCHASED FOR YOU if your home is too old to be moved off the land you LEASE? Please explain the bias that seems evident in your posts. Also, while you're at it, please provide proof of your claims of 'personal graft' against the developer and the stated city council members. You are an attorney. Surely you understand the terms libel and slander? Libel: "a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression" Defame: "to harm the reputation by libel or slander" Unjust: "characterized by injustice: Unfair". To make claims of personal graft without documented proof matches the definitions pretty well. I have personally gone through the transition facing the current residents and I would have been SO grateful to have had ONE Mr. Luzzato's offers to consider!


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