I am a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee (“GPAC”), but I am writing as a 27-year resident of Culver City and a native Southern Californian. We bought our single-family home in 1994 after the Northridge earthquake when property prices tumbled. This is our starter as well as our forever home.
I have watched Culver City politics regress from dealing with local issues, concentrating on infrastructure, encouraging business growth, providing health and safety, and protecting neighborhoods to becoming a political charade. Grand ideas do not solve problems. Planning, consultation, neighborhood input, transparency, and effective decision making divorced from political buzz words can.
Abolishing single-family housing by eliminating R1 zoning will not create affordable housing or solve the housing crisis. Allowing developers to build 4 to 8 unit buildings on our residential streets will not remove the stain of racism, intolerance, financial impropriety, inequity, or lead to building generational wealth among the under-served.
The State requires that the city develop plans to allow construction of additional housing, a large proportion of which is very low to middle income in affordability. The planning we currently have is more than sufficient. We already have allowances for both the regular Auxiliary Dwelling Units (“ADUs”) and Jr. ADU construction. The ADUs plus the development of mixed-use housing/retail along transit corridors, re-evaluation of under-utilized spaces, and potential conversion of commercial/industrial spaces more than satisfies the state requirements.
There is no need to abolish single family home zoning.
No developer will build anything affordable in the single-family home or even R2 areas. The land is too darned expensive and it will not pencil out. Developers are not known for their altruism.
Abolishing R1 is a political statement, not a solution. This is not why we elected city council members. We elected you to make solid, forward-thinking decisions that benefit our community as a whole.
A large percentage of homeowners and constituents know nothing about these plans because the City Council has failed to mail out adequate notice to all affected homeowners, has failed to hold workshops and listening sessions to solicit and answer questions, and has utterly failed to meet the standards of transparency. Certain councilmembers may claim that the General Plan Update outreach was sufficient, but this is preposterous. Not even members of the GPAC expected that this ill-thought out, politically motivated solution would be threatened. We constantly talked about access, transportation, affordability, equity not the wholesale destruction of the character and nature of our neighborhoods.
I urge the majority of City Council members to stop this insane rush to abolish R1 and to engage in thoughtful, transparent, and constructive solutions to our city’s problems.