Evictions have begun at Village Trailer Park and after years of disputes between residents, developers and the city, it appears only one embattled resident remains on site.
Two residents were evicted from a unit earlier last month, said Jack Waddington, another holdout who said he’s ready to settle with developer Millenium Santa Monica LLC. The evictions are the culmination of a years-long process.
City Council approved a development agreement for the trailer park land in 2012 and then effectively rescinded the agreement two weeks later after then-newly elected members Tony Vazquez and Ted Winterer took office.
The owner of the park, Marc Luzzatto, then filed a $50 million lawsuit against City Hall, which was settled, paving the way for a revised development agreement in 2013 that includes a 362-unit mixed-use building with up to about 25,000 square feet of retail for the plot on Colorado Avenue.
In March of last year, several residents settled a separate lawsuit, requiring Luzzatto and the Dinerstein Companies, to buy some residents new trailers and pay to have them installed at Mountain View Mobile Home Park in the city. The developers were also required to offer cash for the value of the land on which the trailers sit.
Ten of the current trailer park spaces were preserved under the 2014 agreement and residents of those homes will have some rights over the land for the next 50 years.
However, four residents living in a total of three units, were not covered by any of the settlements and for the past year, Millennium has been trying to evict the holdouts.
Waddington, who is 82 years old, has been representing himself, without a lawyer, in court. He believes that the developers actions are illegal but has grown weary of judges ruling against him in court.
His trailer, toward the back of the park, is well-kept and surrounded by greenery.
“I actually love this park with the trees and the squirrels and the pussycats and any number of birds and some beautiful vegetation,” he said. “It’s very beautiful.”
In February, he watched as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a warrant to evict two tenants. Waddington stood filming the proceedings as the two were given about an hour to pack up.
The Daily Press was unable to locate the couple for comment.
Millenium’s attorney, Thomas Casparian, did not respond to requests for comment.
Waddington says he can’t afford an attorney on his monthly income of $1,800. At his last court proceeding, he negotiated with the other side. He wants $200,000 and some time to move out of his trailer. He also wants the right to sue previous owners of the property. He claims that an agreement has been reached and that he’s waiting for a judge to approve it.
The third holdout, which the Daily Press couldn’t reach for comment, has an attorney, Waddington says.
When asked where he would go if he has to leave his beloved trailer, which is adorned with “Calvin and Hobbes” comics and photographs of friends, Waddington smiled.
“Underneath a freeway bridge,” he said. “I’ll figure something out.”