Culver City Official Says He May Switch Vote on City Hall Location
A member of the Culver City Redevelopment Agency may withdraw his support for a controversial plan to build a new city hall outside the city’s downtown area because of public opposition to the idea.
“I am willing to rethink the site selection of city hall,” Richard R. Brundo said after a public hearing on Monday when 17 people spoke in opposition to the agency’s decision to build a civic center on 3.4 acres at Overland Avenue and Culver Boulevard, nearly a mile from downtown.
One resident delivered a petition signed by 800 people supporting a downtown city hall. Two downtown locations were rejected by the agency.
Critics of the agency’s decision said that City Hall should stay in the aging downtown area where the city is trying to attract developers and stimulate business activity.
Size a Factor
City officials say that the proposed downtown sites are smaller than the Overland site, where they would like to include a new county courthouse and school district headquarters as part of the $20-million project. Building a city hall on any of the proposed downtown sites would cause more traffic problems than the Overland site, they said.
“Public sentiment is clearly for a city hall downtown,” said Dr. James D. Boulgarides, a former Culver City mayor. “It’s nice to have a grand and glorious building, but there are more important things for the agency to do with its money. . . . I hope you’ll reconsider.”
Other speakers said that city employees driving to work would cause traffic congestion on Overland Avenue, where a senior citizens center has just opened and where Lorimar Studios plans to add two floors to its employee parking structure.
Brundo said after the hearing that there probably will be a motion to reconsider the site at the Redevelopment Agency’s meeting on Monday.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the reaction from the public until after we made a decision” on Feb. 9, said Brundo, explaining his willingness to reconsider the site selection.
If Brundo changes his vote and agency member Richard M. Alexander continues to supports a downtown site, the agency would be deadlocked on the issue. Agency members Paul A. Jacobs and Jozelle Smith have said they support the Overland site. A tie vote would defeat any move to reconsider the site.
Agency member Paul A. Netzel said he will not vote on the issue because he leases land near one of the downtown sites.
The downtown sites under consideration are a 1.6-acre lot at Culver Boulevard and Irving Place that already is owned by the agency, and a 2.7-acre site at Washington Boulevard, Irving Place and Van Buren Place that is owned by the agency and several private owners.
The agency bought the Overland site for $4.3 million from the Culver City developer Goldrich and Kest. The Overland site is large enough to include a new county courthouse and headquarters for the Culver Unified School District, according to agency staff.
Both county and school officials, however, have said that they lack the funds to participate in the project.