PICO NEIGHBORHOOD — The Pico Neighborhood Association (PNA) and several other neighborhood groups are taking a strong stance against proposed condominiums that would replace six rent-controlled residential buildings on 21st Street.
The neighborhood groups will host a townhall meeting about the development plans at 7 p.m. tonight in the Thelma Terry Room at Virginia Avenue Park.
“COURTYARDS TODAY. CONDOMINIUMS TOMORROW! UNLESS YOU ACT,” reads a release from the PNA.
After criticizing its design and potential impact on the neighborhood, the Planning Commission voted to continue discussing the project at a later date.
The six buildings contain 15 occupied rent-controlled units. The new building would include 19 market-rate units and two units set aside for very low-income tenants.
If approved by the Planning Commission, it would trigger some involvement from the Rent Control Board. The Landmarks Commission would also have a say, given that at least one of the buildings dates back to 1935 and the most recent was built in 1951.
Mid-City Neighbors and Friends of Sunset Park are co-sponsoring the event along with the PNA. Also on board is the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City and Residocracy, the community group responsible for successfully challenging the controversial Hines Bergamot Transit Village development agreement.
PNA co-Chair Oscar de la Torre said that these types of issues are going to keep popping up as the Expo Light Rail Line gets closer to opening.
“When light rail comes to a community it exacerbates market pressure,” he said. “This is a movement that will give residents an opportunity to fight for their neighborhood.”
De la Torre is also working to build an anti-resident-displacement campaign that would, among other things, map evictions in the city. They are working with members of the Rent Control Board and the San Francisco-based Anti-Eviction Mapping Project to gather about five years of eviction data to be used for the map.
The campaign, de la Torre said, will also attempt to impact policy that might lead to or prevent evictions.
He plans to inform tenants about their rights.
“As we’re out flyering for these campaigns, we’re hearing from a lot of residents whose rights are being violated and they don’t realize it,” he said. “We want to give them the resources they need to understand what they can do when a landlord is giving them bad information.”
De la Torre, a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education, said that he’s not yet decided whether or not he plans to run for City Council this year.