Residential Zoning Meeting Draws 150+ Speakers, Adjourned to June 28

The Culver City Council this week held a joint session with the Planning Commission to a discuss the controversial topic of "exclusionary zoning practices" in the residential areas.

The highly-publicized Wednesday night's meeting drew more than 150 speakers and some 500 pages of correspondence from residents who oppose the elimination of single-family (R-1) zoning or any changes in residential zoning and others who decried the lack of affordable housing in Culver City.

The public participation was so overwhelming that the meeting was adjourned to next Monday, June 28, at 3 p.m. The agenda will also include land use alternatives and growth projections.

During the 6-hour session, Vice Mayor Daniel Lee twitted: "I'm sorry but when we have 160+ speakers and we limit people to 1 minute but we hear from everyone that's not anti-transparency ...Can't complaint that meetings are too long and want us to spend 5-8 hours on one item."

His tweet drew a sharp reply: "Tweeting during the meeting?"

The majority of the speakers, including members of the coalition "Culver City Neighbors United," told the panel that there is no need for any zoning changes and the "up-zoning scheme will not create affordable housing nor alleviate racial inequity in Culver City." These speakers maintained their neighborhoods are diverse and the Fair Housing laws protect people from discrimination.

They also stressed that there are effective and creative solutions to the affordable housing crisis. On its website, the neighbors' group suggests multi-housing/retail/office/restaurant space along commercial corridors, developing commercial/industrial and underutilized spaces, and focusing on under-served areas in the city.

However, other speakers, including members of the group "Culver City for More Homes," stated that it was hard for many people who work in Culver City to find housing and maintained increasing density would help to resolve the housing issue.

On its website, the group said it is devoted to "making housing more plentiful, affordable and equitable for everyone while protecting renters and unwinding the town's historic legacy of redlining and restrictive zoning."

Another perspective was raised by many stakeholders: Any zoning changes in residential areas should be approved by the voters.

Included in the staff reports for Wednesday night's session was a UCLA study on local affordable housing agenda in Culver City.

Among its findings:

Culver City would have to increase multi-family residential land use by 67% to be equal to its land share of single-family zoning;

Culver is unique among its neighbors in its lack of proactive affordable housing policy and has seen minimal development of affordable housing units when compared to nearby Santa Monica and West Hollywood; and

Rent control, inclusionary zoning and development subsidies are the three fundamental pillars of cities' affordable housing agendas.


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