After hearing from an estimated 70 members of the public during a grueling six hour meeting, the Santa Monica City Council adjourned Tuesday night without any kind of resolution on the contentious East Village project–or the closure of Village Trailer Park.
East Village is a dense mix of apartments, condominiums, retail and office space proposed by developer Marc Luzzatto on the Colorado Avenue property currently home to the elderly and disabled residents of a vintage mobile home park.
The council decided to postpone any decision on the fate of the park, and voted to take up the issue again at a special meeting scheduled for August 28.
The debate over Village Trailer Park has gone on for six years now, during which time two thirds of the park's elderly and disabled residents have moved out or passed away.
Politicians in Santa Monica, known for its historically fierce protection of renter's rights, have been reticent to approve the owner's plans to evict the current tenants in favor of a transit-oriented development in walking distance of a planned light rail station.
Council member Kevin McKeown listed a number of items he hoped would be considered by city staff before the next meeting, including an alternative plan that would reduce the size of the proposed development but allow some residents to remain in place.
Members of the council seemed to agree that they were not equipped with the information to move the development forward late Tuesday night–and perhaps, for that matter, on August 28 either.
“There is no reason we have to make any decision tonight–even about information. I don't think we are under any obligation to the developer,” Council member Pam O'Connor said, suggesting that the developer and the residents could be in for at least two more long city council meetings before any decision is made.
Mayor Richard Bloom, who has said in the past that he would not be in favor of postponing a decision until a plan for the land surrounding the proposed light rail was completed, voiced hesitation about delaying the decision indefinitely.
“There many people who are currently at Village Trailer Park who are waiting for resolution,” Bloom said. “I think some certainty for everyone is in order here.”
Bloom recently announced that he will not be seeking another term on the council. He will, however, face Betsy Butler (the favorite to win the California Democratic Party's endorsement) in a November runoff to represent District 50 in the State Assembly.
Council member Bobby Shriver has also hinted that he will not be seek reelection–meaning, if a decision is delayed until November, the fate of Village Trailer Park may rest in the hands of two as-yet-unelected members of the Santa Monica City Council.