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City Clerk Sarah Gorman administers the oath of office Tuesday night to the four City Council members elected Nov. 6. After the ceremony, the new Council addressed the agenda item of Village Trailer Park. From left: Tony Vazquez, Ted Winterer, Terry O'Day, and Gleam Davis.
Photo by Brenton Garen
City Clerk Sarah Gorman administers the oath of office Tuesday night to the four City Council members elected Nov. 6. After the ceremony, the new Council addressed the agenda item of Village Trailer Park. From left: Tony Vazquez, Ted Winterer, Terry O'Day, and Gleam Davis.

News, City Council, Development, Santa Monica

New Look Santa Monica City Council Rescind Village Trailer Park Development

Village Trailer Park at 2930 Colorado Avenue will be bulldozed to make way for East Village, a 377-unit mixed-use housing development.  However, 10 original trailer spaces will be retained on the east side of the property.
Courtesy Of The City Of Santa Monica
Village Trailer Park at 2930 Colorado Avenue will be bulldozed to make way for East Village, a 377-unit mixed-use housing development. However, 10 original trailer spaces will be retained on the east side of the property.

Posted Dec. 12, 2012, 3:41 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

The saga of Santa Monica’s Village Trailer Park (VTP) at 2930 Colorado Avenue continues, as a new look City Council sworn in Tuesday narrowly decided at its first meeting to rescind the second reading and adoption of a development agreement (DA).

A pair of 4-3 votes have allowed City Hall to withhold enforcing the previously approved DA and a gave Council members and City staff additional time to scrutinize the project that may still replace Santa Monica’s oldest communities with a 377-unit mixed-use housing development called “East Village.”

Council member Kevin McKeown made a request to discuss whether the newly seated council should have a discussion reconsider the previous council’s Nov. 27 vote adopting the second reading of Marc Luzzatto’s proposed development.

That request was approved 4-3, allowing the council to actually discuss whether or not to rescind the previous council’s vote allowing the East Village DA to move forward.

The council then voted 4-3 to rescind the second reading and adoption of the East Village DA.

The two votes effectively earned VTP residents and supporters a bit of a reprieve, but Tuesday night’s votes do not necessarily eliminate the DA.

Indeed, McKeown said the intent was not to preclude any developments from being built at VTP but rather to address specific issues and concerns, such as possible deficiencies in affordable housing and whether or not City Hall is following its own laws.

Both votes had the same bloc in favor and against: Council members Gleam Davis, Tony Vazquez, and Ted Winterer voted with McKeown in favor of reconsideration. Mayor Pam O’Connor, Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day, and Council member Bob Holbrook voted against.

McKeown said it was necessary to reconsider the last council’s adoption of the East Village DA at the Dec. 11 meeting because there may no longer be a chance to do so later.

“The action the council took November 27th will become effective 30 days after that second reading,” McKeown said. “That ordinance will then be in effect. At that point it will be more difficult for us to reconsider this matter.”

The council member added new information was been made available after the Nov. 27 vote.

“Since the second reading, I think we have received considerable additional information on conflicts between this development agreement and our Affordable Housing Policy, among other things,” McKeown stated, adding a plethora of neighborhood groups and residents have sent emails requesting the council reconsider its vote.

One of those new pieces of information was a report to be presented to the Planning Commission of the Bergamot Area Plan. McKeown said the report may indicate the goals of the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) would not be met if certain affordable housing provisions were not met.

Sue Himmelrich, an attorney with the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said the DA approved by the previous council is “illegal.”

“This development agreement does not comply with the General Plan and the Specific Plan of the City of Santa Monica and, consequently, is void,” Himmelrich told Council members.

Luzzatto briefly spoke during public comment and expressed his frustration with the process.

“We have been working on this for six-and-a-half years. We spent months and months negotiating with the Rent Control Board, and with representatives of the City to arrive at a Memorandum of Understanding, and, in reliance of that, spent a tremendous amount of money … in arriving at the DA that is now executed,” Luzzatto told council members. “We believe we have a binding agreement.”

He added he has made several concessions that have been overlooked by opponents of the DA, such as a land grant and a plan to build 40 subterranean parking spaces.

“No one is giving any credit for the land,” Luzzatto said. “We’re going to build the streets, we’re going to have utilities, (and) we’re going to have the parking spaces.”

According to plans, as many as 99 rent-controlled units currently located on the VTP property will be lost and in its place will be a development expected to feature 161 apartments and 216 condominiums.

In mid-November, the Santa Monica City Council finally green-lighted the mixed-use housing project helmed by Luzzatto after two days of deliberation and discussion. The two days of deliberation and discussion capped off a six-year battle that drew the ire of those who would either be displaced by the elimination of VTP or adversely affected by potential impacts of a new development such as increased traffic.

Prior to the vote, Luzzatto made some concessions to his project, such as agreeing to reduce the overall size of the project by eight percent and feature 14 percent fewer units. The development would have retained 10 of the original trailer spaces (closure of 99 spaces).

When the council last considered Village Trailer Park in July, the proposed East Village project featured 438 residential units and a total floor area of 378,450 square feet within four buildings. Luzzatto had since agreed to scale the project down to 377 residential units and 341,290 square feet of total floor area within three buildings.

Luzzatto also agreed to modify the bedroom mix of proposed residential units.

McKeown expressed concern last month that several dozen VTP residents would be displaced in favor of a development that was not consistent with the LUCE. There were also questions of soil quality and land value.

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Comments

Dec. 12, 2012, 5:00:25 pm

mangeleno said...

While I can understand Mr. Luzzatto;s frustration, two things come immediately to mind. First, it was HIS choice to deal with the SAMO City government. The citizens of SAMO did not ask him to come in and disrupt our community and our neighborhoods. Secondly, just because he may have snookered the last Council, it does not mean that he can snooker THIS Council, although he still has plenty of SMRR support, no doubt. The bottom line is that if he wants to make the big bucks, he shall have to content himself with producing a plan that satisfies ALL of SAMO, not just those he can "influence". Remember, half a loaf is better than none.

Dec. 13, 2012, 1:48:17 am

Ron Di Costanzo said...

"Both votes had the same bloc in favor and against: Council members Gleam Davis, Tony Vazquez, and Ted Winterer voted with McKeown in favor of reconsideration. Mayor Pam O’Connor, Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day, and Council member Bob Holbrook voted against." Anyone shocked?

Dec. 13, 2012, 5:47:04 am

J. Doh! said...

Mr. Lazatto look into just closing the park. it sounds like this is not going to go away anytime soon. Cut your losses and close the park.

Dec. 13, 2012, 10:12:31 am

Jonathan Mann said...

The city council are only slowing down development temporarially because they don't have enough staff to process the applications for more overdevelopment. Politics as usual will have the three so called "slow growth" council members negotiage for slightly slower growth. They will still vote for more growth, but at a slightly slower pace. They may throw residents a few crumbs and refuse some projects, such as the Village Trailer Park, which never should have been approved in the first place! The only way to wake up our apathetic and uninformed Santa Monica voters is to have a recall to remove every council person who supported LUCE or voted to waive limits on height, or approved any watered down project that impacted our quality of life. Such a proposition will send a strong message that the residents are fed up with the rapidly growing and uncontrolled overdevelopment in Santa Monica ! This greedy for even more revenue council dares to insult our intelligence and tell us traffic chaos is a regional problem! It's time to take our city back and THROW THE BUMS OUT!

Dec. 18, 2012, 6:40:27 pm

Roberto Gomez said...

I would like to inform Santa Monica City Residents that I have initiated a Recall of City Mayor Pam O'Connor and City Council Pro-Tem Terry O'Day. These 3 individuals are destroying our beloved city. At this present time I can only go after O'Connor and Bob Holbrook. I have to wait 90 days after O'Day was sworn into office to conduct a Recall on him which would be March 12, 2013. Let's work to get these bums out. Pleas wiite to me at RecallPamOconnorBobHolbrook@gmail.com or call 310-828-7711 and leave a message or a comment. I will need help collecting the 10,000 Recall signatures of Registered Santa Monica Voters. Thank you, Roberto Gomez 41 year resident of Santa Monica.

Dec. 18, 2012, 7:00:59 pm

Roberto Gomez said...

CORRECTED VERSION I would like to inform Santa Monica City Residents that I have initiated a Recall of City Mayor Pam O'Connor and City Council member Bob Holbrook.. These 2 individuals (along with other Council members) are destroying our beloved city. At this present time I can only conduct a Recall on O'Connor and Bob Holbrook. I have to wait 90 days after O'Day was sworn into office to conduct a Recall on him which would be March 12, 2013. Let's work to get these bums out. TAKE BACK OUR BELOVED CITY. Please wiite to me at RecallPamOconnorBobHolbrook@gmail.com or call 310-828-7711 and leave a message or a comment. I will need help collecting the 10,000 Recall signatures of Registered Santa Monica Voters to make this Recall a success. If you are not able to help. Please, in the very least, support the Recall effort with your signature. Thank you, Roberto Gomez 41 year resident of Santa Monica.

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