SANTA MONICA’S CANARY
Santa Monica’s Canary
This Wednesday, 5/23, a special meeting of the Planning Commission will consider whether the
Village Trailer Park on Colorado should be closed or not [Agenda Item 5-A]
Roughly, for those still not knowing of it, here is the story of this Park:
From ~the early ‘50’s, various people seeking to live in Santa Monica, spent thousands of dollars—all the money they had, in many cases—to buy compact, efficient-living, now-rare and uniquely-built trailer homes on 109 rent-controlled pad sites in what was earlier an awesomely beautiful, nearly 4-acre treed property, unobtrusively nestled in the City’s old east-end.
A future-thinking town, aware that these homes are part of its rich wartime history, and also part of its declining housing stock for those of low income, in ‘88, by action of its City Council, in seeking to protect that resource, zoned the land mobile-home-use only.
As years passed, the Park’s owner & management company [it is alleged] variously abused these homeowners, and opportunistically, as some died off, effected the removal of nearly half of the trailers and the fine trees on the land.
By ~’06, an ambitious-seeming developer had come along and plans had begun to end the Park-management business so money could be made constructing some large buildings on the land, once residents and their remaining trailer homes had been removed from it.
At first, the City [apparently] said “No, you can’t just ignore our zoning wisdom, break the legal space-rental agreements you have with your home-owning residents, offering them in the process nothing for their purchase costs and over-time accrued home worth, and then simply seek to toss them [so to speak] into our already crowded streets like that !”
“Yes, we can !”, [maybe] said the owner/developers’ astute lawyer.
Fearing the expense of a suit, the City thought again, and agreed to consider the planned development.
Five more years passed, yet more trailers were destroyed, and mostly silence prevailed about laws being violated and harms being caused, to both lives and to the City’s housing-zoning aims.
Then the DA design plan morphed some, and Park residents were brought closer to facing the loss of their homes and savings and a forced relocation to places nothing like or at all equal to what their tarnished, but still beautiful Park afforded them.
Finally, a City review of the progressed plans for the development was begun…
That review, this Wednesday, should tackle some serious concerns.
Years back, it became clear that traffic volume in this small city was becoming a problem. Since bigger buildings generally mean more people coming to them, and more vehicles generally needed to bring those people to those buildings…
Maybe see you at the meeting.
David Latham, VTP resident