Housing Returns to City Council, Residents Return to the Podium

“The State of California noted that they received more comments from Culver City residents than from any other part of the state.” During the city’s presentation on the Housing Element, the new Advance Planning Manager for Culver City, Troy Evangelho,  delivered the city’s report on the update, and noted that local civic engagement on the subject was at the top of the standard for California.

The Public Hearing on the agenda at the August 8, 2022 meeting of the Culver City Council was an adjustment requested by the state on three matters; concentrated areas of affluence, local data and knowledge, and realistic capacity. In addition, the city was asked to look at fees and permit process, clarify SB9 ( the state law that shifts zoning for housing) and incremental infill.  

“The Housing Element is already adopted; it was sent in to [the State] for certification on January 24, 2022. It was rejected and sent back to us for some minor updates, and that’s what we will be looking at tonight.” 

The city did not find a lack of public amenities outside of areas of affluence, was satisfied with the local data, but the standard for realistic capacity continues to bring pubic debate. The focus on clarifying SB9,  and the standards for incremental infill was agreed to be an issue. “The way we have presented it has not been clear, and that is something we need to improve as we go along,” according to Evangelho. 

Under SB9, which became state law as of January 2022, single family zoning can be used for two residences, with an addition of two additional dwelling units (ADUs) for a total of four units per property. “Regulations are in effect now, through SB9.” Culver City is considering  a requirement to make the fourth unit on the property ‘affordable,’ but that would be put into code through the General Plan Update. 

Thirty-five speakers signed into the meeting to comment from the podium (and Webex) , and were given a minute each. Most views were represented, with some applauding SB9 as an acceptable limit to a change in zoning for housing, and others expressing that this was a positive first step. 

The regulation of incremental infill will need to be legislated with the General Plan Update. Community Development Director Sol Blumenfeld noted that it could be “part of the rezoning program that will go forward next year.” 

The council also agreed to study the Livable Communities Initiative, along with the Safe Streets Initiative, to include in future discussions. 

The deadline is October 15, 2022 for the state to certify.

Judith Martin-Straw


The Actors' Gang

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