City Council Approves Culver Steps Signs

Grant Application for Affordable Housing and Transportation Projects, Revises Park Bathroom Code Language


March 14, 2024

Photo Courtesy Culver City

City council members at March 11 meeting (l-r), Councilman Goran Eriksson, Vice Mayor Dan O'Brien,Yasmine Imani-McMorin, Councilman Albert Vera, Councilman Freddy Puza.

City Council Approves New Signage at Culver Steps

City Council met on Monday, March 11.

The City Council unanimously approved two static monument signs highlighting businesses located within the Culver Steps promenade. The Steps Owner has offered to donate the one-time capital cost of the fabrication and installation, which will cost approximately $95,000 for the fabrication of two static signs. The total costs would also include installation of the signs, which are estimated to be $20,000.

The preliminary design incorporates wood and concrete elements, with removable business panels. It is proposed that eligibility for the program be limited to those businesses that are located on the ground floor of Town Plaza with obscured visibility from either Culver or Washington Boulevards.

The City will bear the costs of maintaining the signs going forward, but those costs are expected to be offset by the annual maintenance fee paid for by businesses. Businesses that sell products, goods, and services related to adult themes, smoking, firearms, alcohol, or cannabis would not be eligible to obtain a Business Panel. You can read more of the draft sign licensing program on the City's website.

Culver City to Apply for Grant Funding for Affordable Housing and Transportation

The City Council agreed to resubmit a joint application under the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) that would bring in millions of dollars for several projects in Culver City. If the grant is awarded, it would amount to $35 million for construction of the Jubilo Village affordable housing project located at 4464 Sepulveda Boulevard in Culver City, and $14 million for City Bicycle, Pedestrian and Transmit Infrastructure.

The housing project will be a 100 percent affordable housing development that will provide 95 affordable one, two and three-bedroom apartments to at-risk and low-income households. The development will be service-enriched and provide onsite supportive services through a partnership with Upward Bound House (UBH), a Culver City local emergency shelter for homeless children and their families.

The City Council modified the grant application to propose seeking $4 million for various new bicycle lanes within a 1-mile radius of the project which will not adversely affect the current availability of parking or traffic lanes.

For the pedestrian project, approximately $1.5 million, would have numerous enhancements within the 1-mile radius of the aforementioned housing project, including: sidewalk repairs, upgrading curb ramps to ADA standards, installing high visibility crosswalk markings, and upgrading pedestrian push buttons at signalized intersections to be fully accessible. The grant application includes a proposal for a new sidewalk around the southern perimeter of Lindberg Park, which could be built from concrete or decomposed granite.

The transit project, approximately for $8.5 million, would see improvements for Culver CityBus Line 6 and Rapid 6 which serve Sepulveda Boulevard between UCLA and LAX.

Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin, Vice Mayor Dan O'Brien, and Council Member Freddy Puza voted in favor. Council Members Albert Vera Jr. and Goran Eriksson abstained from the vote. The application deadline is March 19th and awards will be announced August 2024.

Culver City Municipal Code Related to Park Bathrooms Revisited & Modified

The City Council revisited subchapters in the Culver City Municipal Code (CCMC) focused on Parks, Public Buildings and Property. In January, the City Council unanimously voted to receive feedback from the Equity and Human Relations Advisory Committee (EHRAC) on suggested language related to park bathrooms. The process of revisions began back in 2018. While City Council agreed to adopt several revisions in January, 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. In that January meeting, City Council Members unanimously agreed that the current prohibition on use of restrooms and washrooms designated for the opposite sex should be removed. On Monday, after receiving recommendations from EHRAC, City Council unanimously approved the language to add to ensure that people of all types of gender identify felt welcome in park restrooms.

9.10.200 PROHIBITIONS. It shall be unlawful for any person to do any of the following in public buildings or on public property:

... F. Within any restroom, shower, changing room, and locker room in a public building or on public property, to fight or challenge another person to fight; to maliciously or willfully disturb another person by loud and unreasonable noise; to use offensive words that are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction from another person; or to engage in bullying, as defined by City Council resolution.

Council also agreed to the following additional language:

Section 9.10.205 - Restroom, Shower, Changing Room, and Locker Room Facilities

A. This Section shall apply to restroom, shower, changing room, or locker room facilities in a City of Culver City public building or on public property.

B. An individual shall not be requested or required to use gender-segregated facilities that are inconsistent with that individual's gender expression or gender identity, or to use separate or gender-neutral facilities.

C. Whenever feasible, the City shall provide options for privacy, such as additional or single-use gender-neutral facilities, which are available to any individual.

D. The same standards will be consistently applied to all facility users, regardless of gender expression or gender identity.

Additional Council Decisions

Additional items approved by the City Council include:

• Approval of cash disbursements from February 17th through March 1st, 2024.

• Approval of minutes from the Special City Council Meeting held on February 16th and Regular City Council Meeting on February 26th, 2024.

• Approved final plans, specifications, and authorized public notice inviting bids for the Police Station Windows Replacement Project (Project). The primary purpose of the Project is to significantly reduce the amount of exterior noise that penetrates the interior of the building through removal of the existing single-pane windows and replacing them with double pane windows. A side benefit will be less energy use as the amount of cool or warm air from the outside that penetrates the interior will be reduced; resulting in less cost to heat and cool the building. The budget includes $300,000 to complete the Project.

• Adopted resolution approving and confirming the findings of the 2023 Housing Element Progress Report and 2023 General Plan Annual Progress Report. This data is used to assess jurisdiction-specific progress in meeting Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers. The City's Adequate Sites Inventory plans for 8,325 new units, which is 249% of the RHNA. In 2023, the City issued building permits for 87 housing units. The issued permits consisted of 68 ADUs, 3 single-family units, and 16 multi-family units. Since 2021, the City has issued permits for 444 units, roughly 13% of the RHNA. There are 2,897 units remaining to meet the RHNA, and the City is currently reviewing development applications and pre-applications that would largely meet that number. The Planning and Development and Housing and Human Services Departments prepared the 2023 Housing Element Annual Progress Report (APR) and will submit it to HCD by the April 1st, 2024 deadline. That report highlights continued implementations of General Plan police and actions, including General Plan meetings with the public, Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning Code Updates, Higuera Street Bridge Replacement Project and budget appropriation to support the feasibility study of the Ballona Creek Bike Path Extension Project.

• Authorized Free Fare Days for Culver CityBus. Those days include Bike to Work Day on May 17th, Clean Air Day 2024 on October 2nd, Election Day on November 5th, and New Years Eve on December 31st. Culver CityBus will continue to partner with other transit agencies in the region. The total projected revenue decrease is approximately $13,255. No General Fund dollars are impacted by these reduced fares.

• Approved agreement with Sea Clear Pools Inc. for $109,905.08 to replace the pool heater at the Plunge located at Veterans Memorial Park. One of the two water heaters is more than 20 years old (a pool heater's useful life is 20-25 years). Recently, it has become unstable and frequently breaks down, causing undue strain on the remaining water heater. Staff anticipate the new water heater will be installed in two months.

• Approved the closure of Main Street for the 3rd Annual Walk More, Bike More Festival and Fundraiser hosted by Walk n' Rollers on Saturday, March 16th. The street closure is from 9 AM to 3 PM.

• From a continued public hearing in February, City Council denied an appeal and approved a cell wireless site by Crown Castle at 6292 Buckingham. Crown Castle offered to conduct a pre and post installation radio frequency limit to ensure it is in line with FCC limits. If it violates those limits, the City Council agreed the device would be removed. Council Member Albert Vera Jr. abstained from the vote.

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, March 18th.


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