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Santa Monica trailer park residents face uncertain future

December 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Around since the '50s, Village Trailer Park is a little piece of Santa Monica history. Many of its residents have lived here for decades and moved in when it was zoned to just be a trailer park. Now, they face an uncertain future.

"We have a landlord now who is a land speculator, who hopes to make at least 10 times his investment, and he seems to be prepared to do whatever is required to the park to do it," said resident Calvin Normore.

The park is now zoned as a shared mixed creative district, and the owner hopes to tear down the park and build commercial real estate here. He says relocation settlements will compensate homeowners with the money their homes are worth, but they dispute that.

"I consider this theft of my home and the assets that have accrued in it. These are real estate properties," said resident David Lathan. "People don't realize this is a home ownership situation, and we rent the space, and over the years, realty values go up, and ours have gone up, and we're getting nothing for it."

An owner with the Village Trailer Park Group says it's no longer economically viable to maintain the infrastructure here, and that they've been working with the city and the residents for more than five years to keep them here as long as possible.

"It's just home, I can't describe it any other way. It's huge to us, even though they're really small, they actually feel like they're giant houses, because of all the greenery and the feeling of community around us and stuff," said resident George Normore.

The city's landmark commission is considering deeming the park a local landmark, and at this point, there is no imminent eviction date

"I'm going to lose my home, 20 years of relationships here, and probably have to relocate out of state, or if I'm lucky somewhere here, because there's no options, there's no other parks around like this," Latham said.

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