Editor:

The final hearing regarding the application for a removal permit for Village Trailer Park (VTP) at the Rent Control Board will be held on July 11. The Board of Friends of Sunset Park urges the Rent Control Board to deny the VTP removal permit.

The VTP developer intends to replace 109 rent-controlled trailer pads in a park-like setting at 2930 Colorado Ave. with 377 apartments. The Rent Control Board, as an independent agency, has the legal authority to deny the removal permit, despite the City Council’s approval of the VTP development agreement.

The council should not have approved the development agreement (DA) before a removal permit was granted by the Rent Control Board. The DA itself states that it does not obligate either closure of the trailer park or removal of the existing tenants.

The City Charter states that the purpose of establishing the Rent Control Board was to protect the poor, minorities, students, young families and senior citizens. The Tenant Impact Report at VTP showed that of the households that responded, 19 households had at least one member with mental or physical disabilities, 26 had at least one senior citizen, 11 had at least one who was both senior and disabled, four were at low income, and 23 were at very low income. These are the very people the Rent Control Board is supposed to protect.

State law requires that the Rent Control Board’s decision be consistent with the city’s General Plan. I.e., 109 “affordable” units must be preserved at VTP, not just 109 “rent-controlled” units in the new development (most of which would rent at market rate). Moving the  residents to other locations does nothing to preserve  existing affordable housing.

A 2009 report found that the stock of very low- and low-income housing in Santa Monica had declined from 82 percent to 14 percent over a period of 11 years. Approving this removal permit would do nothing to reverse that trend but would, in fact, accelerate it.

The repeated threats of lawsuits by the developer should not be allowed to influence the decision of the Rent Control Board. He/his clients purchased the VTP  for approximately $6 million, knowing that it had been zoned residential-mobile home since 1992. He/they gambled that he could get the zoning changed, evict the homeowners from their homes, and apparently realize a $50 million profit. It is not the job of the Rent Control Board to reward that behavior.

 

Board of Directors, Friends of Sunset Park

Board of Directors, Mid-City Neighbors

Board of Directors, Wilshire Montana Neighborhood Coalition