Dear Editor – Hope for Housing

Dear Editor,

My wife and I moved to Palms in June 2020. We were interested in the area’s walkability and proximity to Culver City, and I was a big fan of the Expo Line access, since I was about to start the Master of Public Policy program at USC.

Today, I’m close to graduating, and we are preparing to eventually buy our first home. After getting to know the area, we would love to put down more permanent roots in Culver City specifically. As I’m sure Culver City residents know, it’s a great place to live! We spend many evenings walking to downtown Culver City to shop and eat. We appreciate Mayor Fisch’s leadership on housing and transportation policy, and we would love to potentially send our kids to Culver City’s excellent schools someday.

Any casual browsing of real estate listings in Culver City, however, is a stark reminder of how financially unwelcome new residents are. It is shocking and disappointing that the city has added a single unit of housing for every 49 new jobs in the last 15 years. Reforms to zoning, parking minimums, and minimum setback requirements would go a long way toward increasing efficient use of an extremely limited resource: land. More than that, those reforms would help make Culver City a place for everyone, not just those who were lucky enough to buy their single-family homes many decades ago. I hope that current Culver City residents will support efforts to increase housing supply, increase housing affordability, and increase the number of neighbors (of all income levels) who can call this community home.

Elliott Lee

The Actors' Gang

1 Comment

  1. Dear Elliott,
    Congratulations on finishing your advanced degree. I appreciate your reflections on Culver City and your desire to move here.

    The biggest obstacle is the price. Both City Council and Staff have clearly stated that new housing in the residential neighborhoods is very likely to be market price or higher because of the high cost of land, construction and financing. There are a lot of very nice townhomes and condos around town where you might be able to start your path to home ownership. Build your equity, save money, and perhaps you can “upgrade” over time.

    We rented, saved, and were barely able to buy our house back in 1994. Please remember that many of your new neighbors did the same. Newer folks face higher prices, and buy when they can. That is who is living in the residential neighborhoods. Many of us are “wealthy” on paper only because the equity is locked in our homes or it helped us send our kids to college, for us to pay medical bills etc. if we did sell, we would have to leave our home area since we too can’t afford a new house.

    If you can afford the high cost of any new duplexes built under SB9, mazel tov. Trickle down housing in a highly sought after area won’t lower home prices to what most people see as affordable. So building more homes, adding pressure to our infrastructure some of which dates back to 1928 or the ‘50s, cutting down trees and putting concrete over yards will be for the benefit of those who can afford it.

    Many of us who “bought years ago” are from working class and middle class backgrounds. Many of us scrimped and saved and bought what we could. We have stayed here because we too love the community and the school and ‘walkability’ and amenities. The economy and the cost is what is stopping new people from being able to afford to buy.

    A condo on land more than half an acre, perhaps in a new mixed use building above a grocery store, or walking distance to shops, restaurants, and transportation because of the economy of scale is much more likely to be less expensive than something built in our frankly overpriced residential neighborhoods.

    Perhaps you are going into a field that pays very well. If so, again mazel tov, but please understand the position of many of us in these residential neighborhoods and don’t feel envious.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Jamie Wallace

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