City, College Reach Settlement
September 30, 2010
On Monday night the City Council and Redevelopment Agency approved an amendment to the Settlement Agreement between the City and West Los Angeles College regarding the 2010 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) for the College’s Facilities Master Plan.
The Master Plan had been approved by the WLA College District Board of Trustees on August 11, who also certified the FSEIR. Previously, on July 12, the Council/Agency considered, but did not approve, a prior version of the Amended Settlement Agreement, as it did not address issues that concerned residents in the area around the college. As a result of the District’s actions, the City filed a lawsuit against the College on September 10.
In spite of the lawsuit, the City and College continued to meet with three homeowners’ associations. The meetings generated a new version of the amendment, which was presented to the Council/Agency at their meeting Monday
The new version of the amendment contains 16 provisions addressing major concerns of the homeowners associations (HOAs). These include: the installation of sound insulating material on the chain link gate located in the sound wall on the west side of College Boulevard; free on-street parking on specific streets within Los Angeles County; the creation of Community and Special Events Liaisons; residential use of college indoor and outdoor recreational facilities; no cut-through vehicular traffic via college campus streets; and construction hours regulated according to Culver City regulations (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and no construction on Sundays or holidays).
The amendment did not specifically address the issue of noise from the Culver City Bus Line 3 (Crosstown Line ) which runs around and into the campus. Bus service into the college was discontinued in June because of complaints about noise, and was restored at the end of August due to concerns about the ability of disabled students to access the campus.
While Public Works Director Charles Herbertson, who presented the amendment, said that the bus issue was “separate” from the terms of the agreement, a number of homeowners who spoke before the Council and Agency felt otherwise.
Residents of the Lakeside District Homeowners Association, told the Council about the noises that were marring their lives. During public comment, Bob Howells described the sounds as “a low-pitched rumble combined with squealing brakes.” Another resident played a tape recording of the bus noise. The speakers wanted the amendment to be changed to address the bus problem.
The five Council/Agency members were more inclined to the viewpoint of Ken Kutcher, counsel for one of the HOAS, who admitted that the amendment “is not perfect [but] the partners negotiated in good faith.”
Dr. Rosemary Joyce, Interim President of West LA College, also stated that “we certainly took the document very seriously” and she was “glad to have been part of the negotiation process.”
The Council/Agency members were in agreement that the amendment satisfied them but they did have some concern for the Lakeside group’s complaints about the bus. Although Scott Malsin admonished the group for not expressing their concerns at an earlier stage of the FSEIR process, the Council/Agency voted to approve the settlement as written, with the bus issue to be vetted separately and worked on by the City in collaboration with the College.
If the District Board of Trustees of the College also approves the amendment, the lawsuit will be dismissed.
In other actions, the Council directed the department of Parks and Recreation to develop a plan to create more Community Gardens; approved a Parks and Rec recommendation to add lighting to the City’s dog park; and as the Redevelopment Agency, approved the sale of a property at 3433 Wesley Street to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.