Santa Monica’s Planning Commission voted unanimously to support the City entering into a Development Agreement (DA) with Village Trailer Park, LLC to redevelop the 109-unit rent-controlled Village Trailer Park located at 2930 Colorado Avenue.
According to the City staff report, “The concept plan proposes a 109-unit Rent Controlled, Affordable Single Room Occupancy (SRO) apartment building, 240 market-rate condominiums, 40,030 square feet of studio commercial space and 8,030 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail space on the 3.85 acre (167,706-square-foot) site.” Since the closure process for the park’s tenants did not follow the City’s rules, the developer agreed to offer public benefits in order to enter into a DA with the City as a way to develop the property. The “public benefits of the proposed project include: extended stay for the existing mobile home park residents (relocation will be delayed); 109 Rent Controlled apartments (with priority for existing park residents); additional housing stock; mixed commercial/residential uses; sustainable design/construction (LEED certified); and special condominium purchase incentives for existing VTP residents.”
All 12 members of the public who gave public input about the project at the August 15 Planning Commission meeting were opposed to it. Park resident Katherine Eldridge told the Commission she was “deeply concerned that if the project gets through the legal process it will change the development picture for all the industrial lands areas for Santa Monica as a whole.”
Friends of Sunset Park President Zina Josephs stated that her Board thinks the “project is inconsistent with the goals and principles residents have been articulating during” the ongoing update of the Land Use and Circulation Elements of the City’s General Plan.
Park neighbor and real estate agent Jim Barrett criticized the developer’s offer of a 250-foot SRO unit for park residents being displaced from their mobile homes by noting it is “not equivalent to a [trailer park] coach. With a coach you also have [outside] surrounding space.”
The decision to enter into the DA will be made by the City Council. Therefore, the Commission also made some suggestions as to what should be included in the DA and many of the suggestions agreed with the public input. Commission Chair Gwynne Pugh called for the City not to enter into a DA for the property, which is located in the Light Manufacturing Studio District (LMSD), until the ongoing update of the Land Use and Circulation Elements of the City’s General Plan are completed. This way, the City can “clearly understand” what the community desires for the LMSD. He also called for negotiations to be included with employers who need workforce housing, such as the City’s hospitals and Santa Monica College. Commissioner Jay Johnson asked that the SRO units have a larger square footage, in the 500-foot range.
This was the first meeting for newly appointed Commissioners Gleam Davis and Jim Ries.