The City Council Meeting on August 27, 2018 was the first session after a few weeks of hiatus, and the topics that created the most discussion were both old and new; the constant concern over parking and development, and the increasingly bold behavior of urban coyotes.
While the community meeting on coyotes to address resident’s concerns is scheduled for tonight (Aug, 28, see post below) there were more than a dozen people who came to address the council. The spectrum of speakers ran from animal rights activists to real estate agents, everyone pleading for a better plan to cope with the attacks on pets and the genuine fear of predators taking over the night in public parks.
Rich Kissel, a local real estate agent, told the council he had two sales that were impacted by the coyote problem. “I have to tell my clients, in good conscience that this is an issue, and of course, it complicates things. The term ‘coyote’ as used to describe smugglers who bring people over the border is an apt description; these creatures are ruthless, cunning, and dangerous. The city needs to take action.”
Doug Graham gave a full narrative of seeing a coyote attack and kill a neighbor’s cat, and while he tried to scare the animal away, it only left briefly, came back again to retrieve the prey and took it to another location to finish eating it.
Lila Swenson, who has taken on a neighborhood of cats both feral and domestic, addressed the council with her plea for action to be taken. “It’s just been so hard, people losing their beloved pets, we have to do more.”
The parking issue came in on a public hearing item with the proposal that some of the scheduled parking for the proposed project “The Brick and The Machine” be converted to outdoor dining space. Clarett West Development is to take over 9735 Washington Blvd., offering two buildings for retail and office space. A four story structure to be clad in brickwork (The Brick) and a three story structure to be clad in aluminum screening (The Machine) iare planned for the space next to Southern California Hospital previously occupied by Bank of the West.
An in-depth presentation by the architect was followed by a lengthy discussion by the council, and adding another restaurant space to downtown Culver City was not the only objection. Mayor Thomas Small, known for his connoisseurship of architecture, found much to like in the design, but Vice Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells brought out the question “Do we really need another restaurant?”
When the council began to suggest that the project might return to the planning commission, a last minute offer that it was still in process with Community Development was deemed enough to keep the project on track.
Council member Goran Eriksson noted that holding off on the development was costing the city revenue that it could not afford to forego, but the revised motion that passed did nothing to speed the process.
Culver City’s Chief Financial Offer Jeff Muir was also congratulated on his retirement, and the council thanked him for his service.