Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer
Observer Publisher 

City Seeks To Sell Trailer Park

Mountain View Mobile Home Park proves unmanageable


This was taken at a trailer park in Thermal, CA. But the photo was too good not to use, K?

The City of Santa Monica has it's own City forester, "Sustainability Manager," and ambassadors who rove downtown on two wheels. It does everything itself, from paving to publishing its own newspapers. But apparently managing the City's last trailer park, is just beyond it.

The City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday night, to issue a Request For Proposals (RFP) for an "affordable housing organization" to purchase the Mountain View Mobile Home Park. The City acquired the 4.8 acre park in 2001, after litigation with its owner, Ring Trading, Inc. It paid almost $7 million (a bargain for 4.8 acres, even if they do adjoin the 10 freeway on Stewart Street). The 105 trailers on the property, many of which have been upgraded so with solar panels, are defined as "affordable housing units." They rent for about $350 a month, much lower than market.

The City's Housing and Economic Development Department recommended that the City find someone else to run Mountain View. "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."

City has invested in new, sustainable, incredibly expensive trailers with solar panels on the roof.

The conspiracy theory is that the City wants a developer to do to Mountain View Mobile Home Park, what a developer did to the Village Trailer Park. Tear it down and replace it with a massively bigger project.

In general, Public speakers at Tuesday's meeting who live in the park favored the proposal to sell the property. However, 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.

It seems likely that the sale would solve a political problem for the City. So if you've ever wanted to run a trailer park, this is your chance.


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