The Special City Council meeting on September 3, 2019 took up a bit of business that has been approaching for decades – The General Plan Update. Presenting in a fashion that opened the idea that this meeting was different, rather than sit at the dais, the council held a less formal, commission-style seating arrangement with tables and chairs in the chamber well. Speakers were given a hand held microphone rather than the podium to address the gathering.
Using that microphone was Vote16 Culver City, a group looking to win the vote for 16 year olds in municipal elections. Speaking to ‘Items Not on the Agenda’ they took time to bring more than a dozen students to address the council on the advantages of giving high school students a voice in local politics. The council agreed to add the item to a future agenda.
A presentation by Raimi +Associates, the firm hired by the city as consultants for the General Plan Update offered the official definition of the task at hand; “State law requires that general plans address certain topics including land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, and safety. General plans can also include optional topics – such as urban design, economic development, and sustainability – to reflect each community’s unique character, physical features, or needs.”
In the past, the city has updated elements of the plan, piece by piece, but this is the first time that the whole plan will be revised.
While the plan, identified as “the constitution of the city” traditionally has focused on topics like recreation, public safety and land use, the council will also be including sustainability, equity and social justice, healthy communities for all ages, climate adaptation and resiliency, urban design and public places, economy, Ballona Creek, cultural planning, governance, and technology.
Circulation and mobility wee both used as synonyms for transportation.
It is a lot to take on, but the mayor spoke in a tone of optimism and inevitability. “We are absolutely up for it,” enthused Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells. She was firm in her commitment to holding equity at the heart of the process, and shaping the future of the city into one that works for everyone.
Every member of the council spoke at length about what they saw as the biggest issue, the most urgent challenge, the greatest need; Housing was most prioritized, with mobility as a close second, and the powerful relationship between the two acknowledged by all.
Tonight’s event at the Wende Museum from 6:30 to 8 will be offered as an open house, and will include an official seating of the of the 21 members of the General Plan Advisory Committee. There will also be a Technical Advisory Committee to consult on policy matters.
Every part of the General Plan Update holds emphasis on getting community voices heard, and the outreach is just beginning.