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By Stephen Hadland
Culver CityObsever Editor & Publisher 

City Council Awards Construction Contract for MOVE Culver City Modifications, Sidewalk Business Fees, Municipal Code Revisions

City Council Awards Construction Contract for MOVE Culver City Modifications

 

January 1, 2024

City of Culver City

The MOVE Culver City project will see modifications in the coming months as City Council approved a contractor's bid on the planned work. Modifications will merge the bike and bus lane into one along the downtown corridor portion of the pilot project. In a 3 to 2 vote, the City Council awarded the contract to Sterndahl Enterprises LLC for $1,465,075. Vice Mayor Dan O'Brien, Council Members Albert Vera and Goran Eriksson voted in favor of the motion. Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin and Council Member Freddy Puza voted against. The modifications, which were initially approved in September 2023, were put on hold when City Council rejected the only proposed bid in November. Following that meeting, the City received three other bids.

The city faces a lawsuit filed October 17th alleges the City of Culver City and City Council do not have the authority to modify the pilot project as it exists today, including challenging the legal validity of finding the modifications exempt from CEQA.

Separately, the City Council unanimously approved traffic engineering services for the Robertson Boulevard Bike Lane project for $91,000 with Willdan Engineering. The services will develop construction plans, specifications, and estimates to construct a separated bikeway and a bus only lane or bus bays along Robertson Boulevard between Venice Boulevard and Washington Boulevard. Following that vote, the City Council also unanimously approved traffic engineering services for the Culver Boulevard Bike Lane Project for $113,455 with Michael Baker International. The services will develop construction plans, specifications, and estimates to construct a bike lane between Duquesne Avenue and Elanda Street.

Sidewalk Business Permit Fees Discussed

The City Council adopted a resolution establishing sidewalk business permit fees in a 4 to 1 vote. Examples of sidewalk businesses include vendors selling fresh cut fruit, water, or bagged snacks. Staff recommended several options and recommended a proposed permit fee of $150, reflecting the average permit fee of those in several other communities recently surveyed. In addition to the new sidewalk vendor permit fees, the sidewalk businesses will be required to pay other associated annual business taxes and fees, including a flat business license tax of $120, an annual business license application fee of $77 for new applications or $67 for renewal applications, and $4 State mandated Certified Access Specialist fee. Sidewalk vendors are also required to obtain adequate insurance as determined by the City to protect the City from liability associated with the sidewalk vendor's activities. The currently recommended insurance limits for the sidewalk vending program are $1 million for each occurrence or $2 million in the aggregate while naming the City as an additional insured. An average insurance policy with the recommended limits could cost the microenterprises in the range of $660 to $2,500 annually.

Revisions to Culver City Municipal Code to be Revisited

The City Council voted to table revisions to subchapters in the Culver City Municipal Code (CCMC) focused on Parks, Public Buildings and Property. The process of revisions began back in 2018. While City Council agreed to adopt several revisions, including definitions and sections, as well as clarifying procedures and authority for permits and agreements, and a list of prohibited activities, there was concerned voiced about the language regarding gender and bathrooms. City Council Members unanimously agreed that the current prohibition on use of restrooms and washrooms designated for the opposite sex should be removed, however, there was no consensus on what language to add to ensure that people of all types of gender identify felt welcome in park restrooms. Council unanimously voted to receive feedback from the Equity and Human Relations Advisory Committee on suggested language. The issue will likely return for a vote later this spring. You can read the proposed revisions online.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee Established

The Culver City adopted a resolution to establish the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and approved the committee bylaws. It will be comprised of seven people appointed by the City Council. Each member would serve a four-year term with the exception of the newly formed Committee which will have some members serve a longer term to allow for staggering of terms. The committee will be tasked with assisting in the planning and promotion of the annual MLK Jr. Celebration Event. It is expected the committee will be able to hold its first meeting in July. You can watch the video from this year's Dr. MLK Jr. event on the City's YouTube channel.

City Council Passes on Administrative Interns

After discussion, the City Council did not take action on the use of administrative interns to support City Council efforts. A presentation by City staff highlighted the options and requirements of utilizing paid or unpaid interns to assist City Council members. Ultimately none of the City Council Members moved forward with a motion, due to various concerns.

Ordinance Introduced Modifying Certain Portions of the R1 Single Family Zoning Code

City Council changed certain language in the City's zoning code regarding single-family dwelling units. The language revisions are necessary to comply with a court order and be consistent with Senate Bill 330. City Council voted unanimously to introduce the ordinance. The City Council must vote at a second City Council meeting to adopt the ordinance before it becomes permanent. You can read the specific language of the repealed portions of the ordinance, as well as items to be reintroduced online.

City Council Appoints 3 to Committees

After receiving 13 applications for vacant positions on the Finance Advisory Committee (FAC), the City Council unanimously appointed two people. Vikram Thakur and Lee Austin will join the committee for partial terms. They fill the Business Member Seat No. 5 and Resident Seat No. 2 vacancies, respectively. Lila Bragard was appointed to the vacant Student Seat on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. All three terms will end June 30, 2024.

City Council issued a Proclamation Recognizing February 4th as World Cancer Day and Other Highlights

The City Council began the meeting with a presentation of a proclamation recognizing February 4th, 2024 as World Cancer Day. World Cancer Day aims to promote research, prevent cancer, improve patient services, raise awareness and mobilize the global community to make progress against cancer. World Cancer Day's three-year theme from 2022-2024 is "Close the Care Gap," and is all about raising awareness of the equity gap that affects so many with cancer and recognizing the power of working together. There are now 19.3 million new cases of cancer in a year, and 10 million people died of cancer in 2021 worldwide. Up to 3.7 million lives could be saved each year through resource appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection, and timely and quality treatment. Progress is possible. Thirty to 50% of all cancer cases are preventable and 27% of cancers relate to tobacco and alcohol use. Today, there are 43.8 million people alive within 5 years of a cancer diagnosis, because investment, information, diagnostics, and treatments continue to improve the chance of surviving cancer. Culver City applauds those organizations in Culver City and beyond, who provide leadership on policies, investments, and innovation who work towards a future where people live healthier lives and have better access to health and cancer services, no matter where they are born, grow, age, work or live.

• Approval of amendment to an agreement with MGE Engineering for $162,977 for final engineering design services for the Bridge Preventative Maintenance Program of three bridges over the Ballona Creek Channel including the Washington Boulevard, Overland Avenue, and Duquesne Avenue bridges. City Council also approved amendments in an additional amount of $24,447 for unexpected costs, as well as appropriating $137,443 in federal funds.

• Adopted a resolution approving the salary schedules for the Culver City Fire Management Group (FMG) and the Culver City Firefighter's Association (FFA). The increase is 1.5%, an increase that is required by the voter mandated Salary Initiative Ordinance. Learn more about the Salary Initiative Ordinance in the staff report to the item.

• Approved a software license agreement with ESRI for $120,000 to support the City's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program.

• Approved an application for $93,880 in grant funds from the California Office of Traffic Safety, Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) through Fiscal Year 2025.

• Approved of application from United Independent Taxi Cooperative, Inc. to obtain taxicab business operating permit in Culver City. The City currently has no taxicab companies with a valid Taxicab Business Permit.

• Awarded construction contract to Palp, Inc. dba Excel Paving for $213,935.40. The contract is for the Washington Boulevard – Ince to Higuera Pavement Rehabilitation Project. The work consists of removing and replacing 2 inches of deteriorated asphalt concrete with new rubber hot mix asphalt. The modified Move Culver City striping layout will be applied to the street following resurfacing. The approval allows for $21,393 to cover contingency costs.

• Received and accepted the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Annual Reporting of Development Impact Fees per the State of California Mitigation Fee Act. City Council also adopted the resolution making the necessary five-year findings for the New Development Impact Fee, Art in Public Places Program In-Lieu Fee, and the Residential Development Park Dedication In-Lieu Fee.

• Approved an agreement with Inyo Networks Inc (dba Onward), to install network infrastructure and internet communication services to support city-provided public Wi-Fi and internet connectivity for municipal operations utilizing the City's Municipal Fiber Network (Culver Connect) for $64,000.

The City Council adjourned in memory of Dexter Scott King, son of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, who died on Monday.

Additional information about each of the topics heard at the City Council meeting can be found in the staff reports and backup attachments for the items, which are posted along with the agenda to the City's website. The video of the City Council meeting will be made available on the City's website for viewing. 

The City Council's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 12th.

 

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