03 Oct City Forbids Developers from Presenting Projects to Community – updated version
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Two developers contacted me in August for my input on Parcel B. I met with them, shared my concerns and those I’ve heard from the members of the Culver City Downtown Neighborhood Association (CCDNA), which I chair. Then I asked if they would present their projects to the CCDNA, since the neighborhing community should have the same opportunity to speak out, ask questions, and get information about the future development of this public land. After all, this is not about my personal opinion on the development, it’s about community needs and concerns. I reached out to the other developers so that they could all present their projects. One developer didn’t reply, two agreed to come, a third had a scheduling conflict, but offered a tour of an existing development, which a group of community members attended on 09/30.
Unfortunately, four days before our community meeting, city staff told the developers that they were not allowed to present to the community before presenting to the Council.
It’s interesting. Those developers have been meeting one-on-one with people for the past few months, but when it comes to meeting publicly, somehow this is not acceptable to staff. It’s completely topsy-turvy.
Now, the public will have no time to digest the proposals before they have their one chance to respond to them. During the developer presentations tonight (Mon. Oct. 3rd) and tomorrow night (Tues. Oct. 4th), residents will fill out speaker cards and receive three minutes each to comment on the proposals they saw just minutes before. There is no dialogue, no back-and-forth. If the public asks questions, they will only be answered at the Council’s request.
It’s been an uphill battle to maximize public input in this process. Gary Walker’s 09/29 article in the Culver City News discusses this struggle – though unfortunately, the online version is truncated. The longer, printed will be available at Culver City Hall and Senior Center until Thursday, Oct. 6.
Thanks to residents and business owners who spoke out about the inferior public input process for Parcel B, the City Council decided last night to add at least one, if not more meetings to further discuss the Parcel B development proposals. Councilmember Christopher Armenta said it best, “Parcel B is too important not to fully vet the project by the public.” Councilmember Andrew Weissman and Mayor Mehaul O’Leary agreed. Thus the public can look forward to more than 15 minutes to fully digest each presented project before responding. I would like to encourage everyone to attend the two presentations tonight, in City Hall Council Chambers at 6pm, and look forward to more open, public discussion about the heart of the Heart of Screenland.