The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, May 30, voted 8-5 to reject Councilmember Rosendahl’s motion to direct the City Planning Department to record the conditions of the tentative tract map for the planned development of Lincoln Place. The rejection is a setback for present and former tenants of the 35-acre apartment complex built in 1950 in an open, garden-like setting in the Venice neighborhood east of Lincoln Blvd. and south of Rose Ave.
In other developments, the project owner, Denver-based Apartment Investment and Management Company (AIMCO) and the Lincoln Place Tenants Association have reached an agreement whereby AIMCO will give 10 days notice before commencing eviction proceedings against any of the remaining approximately 47 households (all of which include elderly or disabled residents) and the tenants will delay in filing suit under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to enjoin evictions until such notice is given, according to Tenants Association president Sheila Bernard.
The L.A. City Council motion presented by Rosendahl was premised on the tentative tract map for the project, which was approved by the city in November 2002 but never recorded, and which contained constraints on the developer’s treatment of existing tenants. Tenants have argued that this city approval of the redevelopment project, coupled with AIMCO’s application for, receipt of and execution upon demolition permits when the developer knocked down five buildings in June 2003, trigger the tenant protections. The tenants cite a July 2005 decision of the California Court of Appeal, in a prior round of the ongoing dispute, as support for their position.
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has maintained that the tenant protection provisions of the tentative tract map are not yet triggered, that even if the conditions were recorded as proposed by Rosendahl’s motion they could not be legally enforced and that the recording could itself expose the city to liability to the developer.
Although the tenants believed that recordation of the conditions of the tentative tract map would have been advantageous to their cause, the rejection of Rosendahl’s motion does not prevent the tenants from arguing the application of those conditions in any future legal proceedings, including any attempts by AIMCO to evict those remaining on the property now.
Approximately 75 tenant households have been evicted from Lincoln Place and others have voluntarily accepted relocation packages offered by AIMCO. June 1 was to have been the deadline after which the property owner could begin eviction proceedings against remaining tenants, and a variety of legal strategies were being bandied about as that day approached. Immediate legal maneuvers have apparently been put on hold for the time being as a result of the 10-day notice agreement described by Bernard of the tenants’ group.
Meanwhile, the Venice community, historic and architectural preservationists, and a wide range of persons interested in the subject of affordable housing continue to watch as the Lincoln Place tenants, AIMCO and the City of Los Angeles ponder their next moves.