On Monday, May 10, the Culver City Council voted 3-2 to put on the June 14 agenda a discussion to eliminate R1/single-family home zoning. This was in response to an organized group that incorrectly believes eliminating single-family zoning will create affordable housing and help alleviate racial inequity in Culver City. Their plan would allow developers and land speculators to build up to 4 units (or more?) on almost any single-family home lot.
There is an affordable housing crisis, no doubt. However, single-family homes are not the cause. We can preserve single-family homes as well as support and build affordable and equitable housing for all.
Many housing experts, tenant unions, and community-based activists express concern that eliminating single-family zoning (upzoning) will bring in more wealthy tenants and homeowners. Builders with deep pockets could buy a single-family lot, build a 4-plex and offer them at the highest amount possible. These housing experts say this pro-developer scenario would incentivize the elimination of our current affordable housing stock (older R1 homes and ADUs) leaving behind current residents and the people in our community who need the most help. This plan does not guarantee affordable or low-income housing. It just guarantees more housing.
There are effective and creative solutions to our affordable housing crisis, including: providing incentives for owners of low-and-moderate-income housing to make rent affordable; building multi-use housing/retail/office/restaurant space along commercial corridors; redeveloping commercial/industrial and underutilized spaces for housing; focusing on under-served areas in our city, and promoting the allowed building of up to two ADUs on single-family lots.
You have a short time to spread the word and express your opinions about the elimination of R1 single-family zoning.
One: Complete the City’s Land Use Survey. If you have time, please watch the video or read the presentation, as some of the terminology may be unfamiliar to you. Use the space at the end to type in your thoughts about abolishing single-family zoning. (Pictureculvercity.com/alternatives).
Two: Write a letter/email to our City Council: [email protected] Copy the city clerk so that it is a matter of public record.
Three: Attend the June 14 City Council meeting and tell council in person/virtually. (https://culver-city.legistar.com)
City Council must pause. Too many constituents are unaware of the big decisions being made. Our local government must involve our community with the utmost transparency. At the very least, they must take the conversation to the residents by hosting meetings in neighborhoods and community centers, and notifying our community with mailings, postcards, and door flyers, etc.
We need true community collaboration to solve the real problem – the urgent need for effective funding strategies to help provide affordable, safe housing for people who want to live here. We can do this as well as maintain R1/single-family zoning.
The solution to our affordable housing crisis requires thoughtful, effective, and community-building solutions. With innovation and creativity, we can build on our vibrant community and help shape it into the inclusive, diverse, and welcoming city we want it to be. Together, we must try to solve the crisis with compassion, humanity, and facts.
Let’s slow down and do this right.
Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin
on behalf of the community members of Culver City Neighbors United