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City Could Sell Santa Monica Trailer Park
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)828-7525 - roque-mark.com


Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP


Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

 

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

April 14, 2016 -- Nearly 16 years after the Santa Monica government purchased the Mountain View Mobile Home Park to settle a legal dispute, the City is looking for a new buyer of the 4.8-acre property with 105 rent-controlled lots.

The City Council voted 6-0 on Tuesday to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase the park. It will be targeted to “affordable housing organizations.”

The City’s Housing and Economic Development Department recommended this decision.

“Staff believes owning and operating residential properties is best suited to private housing organizations who can focus on operating affordable housing and which are experienced and equipped to respond to the daily needs of tenants and property management issues.” City housing official Jim Kemper told the council.

He added, “We have heard from various entities who are interested in purchasing the park, and I guess until the RFP goes out we will not know for sure.”

The City purchased the park on Stewart Street near the I-10 Freeway in late 2000 (See “Deal to Buy Trailer Park Expected to End 10-year Saga,” November 14, 2000) from Ring Trading Corporation for approximately $7 million.

For the 10 years leading up to the City’s purchase, tenants had been attempting to buy the property. Related legal battles ensued.

Public speakers at Tuesday’s meeting who live in the park were mostly favorable of the City selling the property. The Pico Neighborhood Association wants the park’s tenants association to assume ownership of the site.

“It [would put] existing tenants in a position to have a say in the future of their mobile home park allowing the City staff to focus more directly on its core mission of increasing affordable housing opportunities, while preserving the park as affordable housing,” the PNA Board of Directors wrote in a letter to the council.

Also at the meeting, the council voted for a “one-time, temporary lot-line encroachment exemption” for eight owners (of the home, not the lot) with homes encroaching on adjacent vacant lots.

These lots' lines were not established until 2006, long after the homes had been placed and nearly 70 years after the park was built.

Staff says the encroachment exemptions should expire for each household after “major alterations [are done] to the home or when the existing tenants terminate residency at the park.”

This feature troubled some of the public speakers.

“All mobile homes on a routine basis require maintenance and repairs," said Catherine Eldridge, a longtime mobile home park activist, "and you require a permit from Building and Safety.”

She continued, “Would the City evict the owner from the unit or simply force them to become the renters in one of the new units? From my perspective and probably from anyone who actually owns a home, this would not be a choice, this would be extortion and theft instead.”

Councilmember Kevin McKeown said the only action that should end the encroachment exemption is the current resident moving.

“We [should] allow them to do major renovations to the home as long as it’s on the same footprint it’s on now,” McKeown said.

Other council members agreed and voted for this to be included in the direction to City staff.


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