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Santa Monica reconsiders trailer park demolition

December 13, 2012 |  6:05 pm

Santa Monica residents protesting the eviction of dozens of trailer park tenants won a victory Tuesday when the City Council voted to rescind its previous approval of a massive development agreement.

In an unusual move, the council, with two new members, voted 4 to 3 to reconsider and later rescind the very agreement it passed two weeks ago. The council then directed staff to continue negotiating with Marc Luzzatto, principal of Village Trailer Park LLC. City officials said Luzzatto's development agreement was scheduled to go into effect Dec. 28.

The vote marks yet another delay in Luzzatto’s six-year battle with residents over his development plan, which would have forced about 36 park residents to relocate. Park residents insist the eviction will cause them emotional and financial hardship. Some have questioned the legality of the process.

The plan's legality was the focus of debate Tuesday, city officials said. Luzzatto's 377-unit development includes 16 low-income units, which some speakers argued failed to meet local affordable housing requirements.  

Supporters of the project counter that Luzzatto has already done more than the law requires to ease the tenants' transition. Tenants have been given the option of moving into a new trailer at another location, or moving to an affordable rental unit and accepting a payment of about $20,000.

Not only has Luzzatto's company given residents several years' warning of its plans, it responded to concerns raised at a public hearing in July by reducing the size of the planned development by 8% and pledging to retain 10 mobile-home spaces on the site.

Luzzatto was not immediately available for comment Thursday.  

City officials said there was no timeline for when the issue might next be considered by the council.

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--Matt Stevens

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