COLORADO AVE — City planners released new details about a propsal to re-develop the Village Trailer Park that would reduce the overall size of the project and retain some of the existing trailers.
The park’s developer, Marc Luzzatto, pulled plans for East Village — a 438-unit mixed-use development — from the Aug. 28 City Council agenda in early August.
At the time, he announced that his team would explore the possibility of keeping some trailers in order to mollify residents of the existing park that have been fighting to keep Village Trailer Park as-is for over six years.
According to an item released last week, the new plan would retain 10 of the trailers on the side of the park facing Stanford Street. The remainder of the project would shrink by 14 percent to include 377 units — 161 apartments and 216 condominiums — and include more open space on the ground floor.
The changes are not set in stone, and there are still many details that need work, including what agency or organization will own and operate the remaining mini-park for the 10 trailers and who would be allowed to live in them.
That’s only if the plan pencils out financially, Luzzatto said.
“We’d love to find a way to bridge the gap that exists in the community. We think that the plan we had before is an excellent plan, but we’re always open to finding ways to do things that are better and solve more problems,” Luzzatto said.
Planning staff is re-releasing portions of the environmental impact report, which had to be revised to show that the trailers would be impacted by shadows from the five-story development, said Jing Yeo, special projects manager with City Hall.
“Residences are considered ‘sensitive uses,’” Yeo said. “When we modeled it, it cast a shadow for more than three hours during the winter solstice, the longest shadow day of the year.”
That reopens a 45-day comment period which will end on Oct. 15.
The new plans put other processes on hold, including a permit needed from the Rent Control Board to remove the trailers.
The hearing was continued from August to the Sept. 13 meeting, but will be put off until the revised plan is done, said Tracy Condon, the Rent Control administrator.
That offers a reprieve to Village Trailer Park residents, who were hoping for a delay in the Rent Control Board hearing and don’t think much of the new plan.
“I think it’s an admirable idea to preserve part of the park, but there are many ways in which that’s unworkable,” said David Latham, a resident of the park.
Determining who would be allowed to stay would be difficult, and many of the trailers cannot be moved (even to the other side of the park) because of their condition and built-on additions.
“How can that park be kept a viable business entity and who would run it? Who would stay and when would you determine where and how the others would go? How would it be arranged so the infrastructure is cared for?” Latham asked.
In his view, City Hall and the developer are missing the point by trying to offer up solutions other than preservation of the 109 rent-controlled spaces that exist on the site today.
“The city needs to preserve genuinely affordable housing, it needs to preserve its history,” Latham said.
While the company is willing to explore new ideas, the process can’t stall much longer, Luzzatto said.
“We’ve reached the limit,” Luzzatto said. “In the next couple of months, we have to have resolution. We can’t keep the park open any longer without some resolution.”
Luzzatto has been trying to close the park since 2006.