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Santa Monica trailer park demolition approved by council

March 25, 2013|By Matt Stevens
  • Peter Naughton, 63, holds protest signs in front of the Village Trailer Park in Santa Monica. He has lived in the park since 1991; his trailer home has been in his family since 1986.
Peter Naughton, 63, holds protest signs in front of the Village Trailer… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

After months of negotiation and a lawsuit filed against the city, the Santa Monica City Council last week approved plans to develop a 377-unit development on a site that is currently home to a trailer park.

Residents of Santa Monica’s Village Trailer Park had long protested the development, which would force the demolition of the park to make way for the apartments. Park residents argued that moving would uproot their lives and shake their peace of mind.

What followed was a messy back-and-forth involving two incarnations of the city council, which approved the development agreement in November, then, after some new members had been elected, rescinded that approval. Marc Luzzatto, principal of Village Trailer Park, later sued the city. Finally, last Tuesday, the council approved a revised plan from Luzzatto.

Under the new plan, Luzzatto will provide 38 affordable housing units, up from the 16 that were guaranteed in the plan approved in November. More than 200 units that were slated to be condominiums will now become apartments under the revised agreement, and Luzzatto will retain ownership of a small parcel of the property that will hold 10 trailers.

The changes in affordable housing were enough to convince Councilwoman Gleam Davis to swing her vote in favor of the development. The council split 4-3 in favor of approval, after hours of debate.

“As you know, it’s been a long journey, but we’ve arrived at a win-win solution to the impasse and we hope that we can now move forward in a positive way that benefits all constituencies,” Luzzatto said Monday. He added that he still must obtain a closure permit from the rent control board.

Residents will have to decide whether to stay on at the 10-trailer parcel or relocate by late summer or early fall.

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Twitter: @MattStevensLAT 

Email: matt.stevens@latimes.com

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