It came to a bump in the road, but went on regardless; at the Jan 24, 2022 Culver City Council meeting, City Clerk Jeremy Green paused the presentation to note that while the Updated Housing Element had been presented as an Action Item, it should have been classified as a Public Hearing. But the need to submit the element to the state before an approaching February deadline kept the item moving forward, ultimately passing with a vote of three to two.
The updated housing element, required to show “substantial compliance with state law,” took the full weight of resident’s concerns, deeper research from city staff, changes in state law, and the many controversies involved in changing housing policies.
The council’s last discussion on December 10, 2021, included support for incremental infill, compliance with SB9, offering special developmental incentives to redevelop shopping centers, and building housing in industrial and commercial areas. The update was back in front of the council owing to the fact that the last submission from the city to the state had been held to be inadequate, and the state returned it for further improvement. While there were no updates on the ‘negative declaration’ for the Environmental Impact Report (meaning that the updated housing element would not negatively impact the environment,) there would be another EIR attached to the General Plan Update when that is submitted.
Comments on the item drew 62 speakers, and took more than an hour to process. Nancy Barba, who spoke as a private citizen, not from her place on the Planning Commission, held that, “I agree that there is [more that needs to be done,] but as it is, I think the city and staff have done the best job possible.”
While the detailed report is still subject to comment and further revision, the state’s deadline will be met. Online, Council member Alex Fisch offered “Despite good work by city staff [and] a ton of great community input, I have grave, well-founded concerns that our housing element does not yet substantially comply with California law. I will express those [concerns] on the public record soon.”
The meeting was colored by extreme emotion from both the council and the speakers, but the fate of the Updated Housing Element will move forward over whatever bumps arise.
You buried the lead. The housing element was adopted under a legal maneuver by Former Mayor Fisch that completely cut off debate and input from the Council Members. The public deserves to hear what everyone had to say. They should have followed Mayor Lee’s request to set up a special meeting to continue discussing the issue.