The Culver City council on Monday approved a revised design concept submitted by the Prudential Insurance Co. of America for a large mixed-use project, but reserved the right to scale back the complex once an environmental impact report is completed.
The plan for the Marina Place project, however, was opposed by Councilman Paul A. Jacobs, who said it was the same size as a previous proposal that Prudential withdrew earlier this year. Jacobs also said that the project would generate more traffic than the earlier plan.
Prudential wants to build about 500 residential units, 715,000 square feet of commercial and retail space and a 240,000-square-foot office building on an 18-acre section of western Culver City, which extends into Venice.
The residential units, about 1,000 square feet each, would be placed over an underground parking structure on nine acres of land. The commercial and retail portion, on about seven acres, would include many small shops along with two large department stores. The office building would be within the city's 12-story height limit, said Marianne Lowenthal, a company spokeswoman.
The company's previous plan, which it withdrew in July, included two 17-story and two 15-story office towers, one 12-story building, two restaurants and a 5,200-space parking garage.
A few Venice residents at Monday's meeting said they are opposed to the revised project because it would increase traffic congestion at the intersection of Washington and Lincoln boulevards next to the site.
Don Tollefson, a member of the Venice Town Council, said the large commercial project would add to the congestion already caused by beachgoers and patrons of a swap meet on the project site.
"This is the worst place it could go," Tollefson said.
Carol Delay, a city planner, reported that although the revised plan would bring less traffic during peak periods than Prudential's previous office-style project, the commercial portion of the new plan would attract shoppers, increasing traffic in the evenings and on weekends.
Prudential must submit a supplemental environmental impact report and obtain a zoning change and final design approval from the council before it can start construction. The environmental report will explore alternatives to the mixed-use plan, Delay said.
The council approved what is called a preliminary development plan, the first step in a three-stage process to change the zoning of the property from commercial and light manufacturing to a Planned District. That designation would allow Prudential to exceed zoning restrictions such as the 12-story height limit.
Although Prudential intended to exceed the height limit with the previous office tower design, company officials said they now plan to keep the single office building within the 12-story restriction.
The plan is the fourth submitted by the company since it bought the land in 1980. The office tower design was approved in 1984 by the council, which asked Prudential to reduce its size.
The Planning Commission approved the revised design Aug. 13, stipulating that population and building densities may be reduced when Prudential applies for the zoning variance.