Culver City Observer -

City Dumps Billboards

Angry Residents Protest; Developer Pulls Out


By Lynne Bronstein

Observer Reporter

Twenty-five speakers had signed up at the May 11 City Council meeting to protest a component of the proposed plan for a Hospitality and Entertainment District in south Culver City. But although they got their chance to speak, their actions of the past few weeks were what actually paid off as the City Council dropped the "signage component" of the plan.

The proposed plan for the southern area of Culver City involves a district specifically designed for hotels and entertainment venues. Renderings for the plan featured electronic billboards with "creative" designs.

The purpose of the item on the agenda was to provide an update on the proposed plan and present a PowerPoint presentation of the "visioning" of the project.

However, neighborhood groups such as the Fox Hills Neighbors Association, reacted negatively to the billboard idea. A circulating petition and articles in the local press have appeared in recent weeks, calling for opposition to any installation of billboards.

When the item came up on the agenda, during a long evening which had already seen lengthy discussion involving a local playground, the City Council seemed reluctant to go against popular opinion on the issue of the billboards.

"We've had a lot of input from the community about this signage component," said Jeff Cooper. "If we could deal with that immediately it would ease a lot of folks. Take that component and see where we are right now."

"A land use element has advantages for the city without the signage element," said Andrew Weissman.

And so, with everyone agreed, the council removed the signage component from the plan. Wide applause was heard from the audience.

Community Development Director Sol Blumenfeld announced the withdrawal of the Carlyle Group from the project and noted that the Council could choose another developer or go forward with a reduced version of the project.

When the speakers got their chance to comment on issues other than the signage, they reminded the council that they also wanted to make sure there would not be too much "density" in the land use plan.


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