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City Challenges Trailer Park Closure Notices:

The residents of Village Trailer Park at 2930 Colorado Blvd. last month received a Notice of Closure stating that the mobilehome park “will close on July 31, 2007” and that all tenants must vacate before that date.  The trailer park, which is tucked away on the south side of Colorado between Stewart St. and Stanford St., and which is bounded by both residential and light industrial properties, contains 87 “units” on 109 spaces.

Ralph Meyer, a park resident, wrote the Mirror that “the homeless population in Santa Monica may swell by about one hundred due to the closing” because “the homes there cannot be relocated, and the residents face eviction.”  (Letters to the Editor, July 27-August 3, 2006)

The City of Santa Monica has challenged the park’s Notice of Closure for failure to first obtain a local change of use permit required by the City Charter.  In a July 26, 2006 letter to trailer park management, Deputy City Attorney Alan Seltzer addressed the park’s “failure to file the impact report with the City Clerk and follow the proper notice and hearing procedure where a local change of use permit is required,” and concluded that “the Park’s attempted Notice of Closure has not been properly filed and served.”

Seltzer noted, “The Village Trailer Park is zoned RMH – Residential Mobile Home Park. The land use designation is Special Office for large-floor office/research and development uses. Therefore, conversion to most other uses will require a rezone, a general plan amendment depending on the use sought, quasi-adjudicatory permit approvals, compliance with CEQA and other applicable permits for clearing the property.”

Lawyers for the trailer park have answered that California state law “preempts local regulation of a change of use termination” and that the state law “broadly authorizes a park owner to change the use of the park for any reason whatsoever and under any circumstances.”  Richard H. Close of the Santa Monica law firm of Gilchrist & Rutter, in his August 14 letter to the City, stated that “our clients will close the Park on July 31, 2007 pursuant to the notices previously sent to the tenants.”

Deputy City Attorney Seltzer told the Mirror that “there will be a response” to Close’s letter.

Although the City and the trailer park have asserted widely divergent views of the governing law, each has expressed in the exchange of letters a willingness to sit down together.  

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