Culver City Observer -

By Stephen Hadland
Observer Editor and Publisher 

Culver City Council Extends Commercial Eviction Moratorium Through May 31

 

April 23, 2020

City Hall

The Culver City Council met via conference call Monday night in compliance with the County Health Department's guidelines on large groups meeting in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

During the conference call, which was broadcast live on the city's website, the Council voted to extend the commercial eviction moratorium through May 31, confirming the City Manager's order of April 7.

Councilmember Alex Fisch cited the orders by the governor halting evictions and foreclosures. He urged business owners to reach out early to know their options and commented that the city has "a limit of our authority" and that much of the work was needed at a federal level.

Referencing the city's financial constraints, he added that "we don't have a printing press...we are doing what we can with limited tools in an impossible situation with absolutely no playbook."

Colin Diaz, president of Culver City Chamber of Commerce, and Ron Bassilian, president of Protect Culver City, pointed out that, while there was an extended Council agenda, there wasn't one item addressing the small business community and the effect the Covid-19 is having on businesses as they try to reopen. Diaz commented that "many of our small businesses may not reopen."

Councilmember Thomas Small was taken back by the comments from Diaz as both he and Vice Mayor Goran Eriksson have participated in weekly Covid-19 webinars sponsored by the Culver City Chamber. However, Diaz's comments were apparently driven by the fact that there was nothing on the agenda addressing or dealing with the crisis small businesses are currently facing.

During the call, Council also held a discussion on the preparation of a zoning code amendment relating to the mixed-use development standards and regulations which would require a mandatory percentage of affordable housing as part of new mixed-use development projects.

The objective would be increasing the supply of housing, increase density and affordable housing in a market of rapidly rising housing costs.

Councilmember Thomas Small labeled the presentation as "the beginning of the discussion." He cited the need to balance the creation of affordable housing and not making it impossible for developers to build affordable housing. He stresses the need to reach out and begin a discussion with the development community.

Vice Mayor Goran Eriksson spoke about the change in market conditions with the current economic meltdown. "I think the proposal is a good one, but it needs to be tempered by the economic reality that we have if front of us for the next 3 to 5 years," he said.

Council remarks and input were essential to providing direction to staff on moving forward. No other action was required.

The full report by Keyser Marston Associates is available on the city's website at: https://culver-city.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8244268&GUID=DC10D8EE-BAF8-4F5C-833C-7FB2BF845FE1

In another matter, the council reviewed the Revised Design Plans and Specifications of the La Ballona Safe Routes to School Project. The construction contract in the amount of $2,811,100 went to Toro Engineering, as the lowest bidder. Council approved a budget amendment in the amount of $674,282.66 from the SB1 Gas Tax Funds to bridge the gap in grant funding.

Vice Mayor Eriksson was concerned that with the extreme reduction in gasoline consumption, the tax funds would not be there to fund the gap. City officials assured the vice mayor that the funds would be available. Eriksson shot back: "I'm happy that you're so positive." He cautioned that funds may be needed from other sources. "I'm concerned we are jumping into that we will pay dearly for," he added.

However, Council voted unanimously for the changes.

Although the City Council election was moved to coincide with the general election in November, the city will rotate the position of mayor at the April 27 council meeting. Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells announced she would be supporting Vice Mayor Goran Eriksson to rotate into the mayor's seat.

 

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