“We want to create an enduring asset for the neighborhood.” Gregory Fisher of wHY Architecture gave a presentation of beginnings of a design for the proposed development at 11111 Jefferson Blvd. to a community meeting of concerned neighbors on Dec. 4, 2019 at Temple Akiba, offering the aesthetic angle of what would prove to be the more concrete concerns of the crowd.
Talk about light and landscaping turned to questions about transportation and traffic.
In August, Governor Gavin Newsom said 1.3 million new housing units will need to be added in Southern California to match population growth and keep housing costs from rising. Under a plan by the Southern California Association of Governments, the group responsible for allocating unit amounts to local governments, Culver City will have to zone for 3,300 units. That makes the proposed development of the triangle inside Jefferson, Machado and Sepulveda a topic of intense community interest, as was clear at the third public meeting.
The developers of the proposed mixed-use building faced a heated audience of hundreds on Wednesday night, where residents largely ignored the agenda focus – a design charette – to raise more community concerns, among them that the addition of more retail in this part of Culver City could put existing small businesses out of, well, business.
“We don’t want to just build something and leave,” said Kyle Faulkner, Principle at 3M Capital, one of the developers. “Retail doesn’t mean another TJ Maxx; it means a restaurant, it means a place to get your hair cut, it means a place to get a cup of coffee.”
A rejoinder from the audience noted that “We don’t need another venue serving $17 avocado toast.”
Current plans for the Jefferson site include 250 rental units, 11 percent of which may be allocated for affordable housing, and 814 parking spaces. The plans also include 50,000 square feet of office space and 55,000 square feet for retail.
While no one in the crowd questioned the need for housing, many people focused on the long empty retail spaces in Culver City, and the amount of traffic that wold be created by having office space included in the development.
Allen Lulu, a neighborhood resident, noted that the Runway at Playa Vista offered a number of amenities he’d like in Culver City. “It would be great to have someplace like that within walking distance.”
Size was also a concern for many residents, and a theme of ‘lose the retail and office space, and this could be one or two stories shorter’ came up from several who spoke from the audience.
Jamarah Hayner, who facilitated the meeting, noted that the initial traffic studies and environmental impact report had not even been scheduled yet, and that the process was still only in the very beginning stages, with the Planning Commission and the City Council approval at the distant end of the planning.
Another community meeting is planned for January.
Elizabeth Moss with
This is the most ridiculous development. Where is the Post Office going? The traffic is already unmanageable at that location. Why don’t they do a traffic study first? The whole thing is a bad idea!!!
The post office announced that they would be closing the location two years ago – I don’t know for a fact, but I’m thinking that is a key part of what caused the property owners to decide to sell the parcel.
Housing is a priority. I don’t know how the developments costs are decided, but it seems to me that if we as a neighborhood are arguing that the retail and office space are not really needed, then perhaps the solution is the keep the current height, but to dedicate it all to housing. Perhaps that way the cost per unit of housing would drop.
We need this project to offer at least 25% of its units as permanent affordable housing, otherwise it’s not worth the traffic congestion and other impacts to the neighborhood. Our neighbor, Santa Monica, has had a 25% per housing project requirement since the 1990s, and 30% aggregate for the city. We can achieve this in Culver City, too. We also need a report on 1) # of employees moving into CC; 2) # of units available at projects nearby, both within city limits and adjacent; and 3) proposed rents for this project. We don’t need luxury and “market rate” units as much as truly affordable ones.
The entire structure will be 60-feet tall, creating a massive wall along Jefferson and Sepulveda. It will dwarf Temple Akiba and the residential neighborhoods across the street. It must be scaled back.