Do Not Eliminate single family zoning
September 8, 2022
On Aug. 8, 2022, the City Council majority of Mayor Daniel Lee, and Councilmembers Alex Fisch and Yasmine-Imani McMorrin voted to eliminate R1/single-family zoning, deliberately evading California’s new housing law SB9. Laws such as SB9 were recently passed to encourage the building of more housing, while at the same time protecting neighborhoods from profit-only-driven Wall Street investors and speculators that have no connection to our city and our community.
SB9 allows homeowners to build duplexes and split single-family residential lots (R1) into two separate lots and build up to two primary units on each parcel. Council majority calls for the elimination of R1 zoning in favor of what is called “Incremental Infill” which changes R1 zoning to multi-family zoning. This will make the new SB9 law inapplicable, because SB9 only applies to R1 zones. Thus, the community will be stripped of the full protections that the state legislators intended under SB9.
There is no persuasive evidence that says that the new theory of Incremental Infill will create the affordable housing that almost everyone agrees we need. Incremental Infill is not needed to meet state housing requirements or promote generational wealth. Instead, Incremental Infill will exempt Culver City from all SB9 protections, including protections against speculation, encouragement to retain the look of the neighborhoods and requirements for owner occupancy that work against investment interests. The Council majority did accept Fisch’s motion to include some SB9 protections but they leave out the residency requirement and the phrase about protecting the look of the neighborhood.
Eliminating the essential protection of the owner-occupancy requirements under SB9 will make the city’s single-family neighborhoods a target for outside investors. None of the neighboring cities are allowing this kind of unchecked investment speculation in their residential neighborhoods. This will expose Culver City to investors and speculators who could build up to 8 units on what was previously a single-family lot.
What can you do?
The City must submit a Site Inventory to California’s Housing and Community Development agency (HCD) to prove that it can meet State requirements. Please write to the State about it.
• There are 945 homes listed in the Site Inventory document.
• If you own one of the homes listed, AND you do not plan on tearing down or replacing your home with up to four units under the “incremental infill” theory, tell the state immediately. There is a deadline approaching quickly.
• If your home is not on the list, you can write to the State and tell them that you do not want Incremental Infill in Culver City.
Please visit CulverCityNeighborsUnited.org/letters to access the site inventory and see an example of how to write the State. Ask your neighbors to do the same.
For well over a year, Culver City Neighbors United and our community has been advocating for effective and creative solutions to our affordable housing crisis, such as adding incentives for owners of low-and-moderate-income housing to make rent affordable, making it easier to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), building multi-use housing/retail/office/restaurant space along commercial corridors, developing commercial/industrial and underutilized spaces, making it a priority to focus on under-served areas in our city, and making the type of zoning changes that would allow for the building of residential units in commercial areas. We must allow for the building of residential housing in areas that have the transportation infrastructure in place and amenities nearby -- in order to get people out of cars and minimize the traffic impacts of adding the new housing that the State requires.
The Housing Element approved by the City Council majority does not meet State requirements or Culver City’s needs. Single-family zoning must not be eliminated based on an evasion of state housing law. We urge the City to delete Incremental Infill from our Housing Element and allow SB9 housing and neighborhoods to develop under current State law.
President, Culver City Neighbors United