The Culver City Redevelopment Agency has voted unanimously to reverse its decision to locate a new city hall at the northwest corner of Culver Boulevard and Overland Avenue and instead will look for a site in the downtown area, said Jody Hall-Esser, community development director.
Hall-Esser said the City Council, sitting as the Redevelopment Agency, on Monday reversed a Feb. 9 decision in response to opposition to the Overland site, which is across from the Veterans Memorial Building.
The agency, Hall-Esser said, "had not anticipated . . . the depth of feeling of the people who came up, after the (Feb. 9) decision had been made, who believed city hall should stay in the downtown area." Opponents had presented a petition to the agency with 800 signatures.
Agency members want to replace the old city hall, at Culver Boulevard and Duquesne Avenue, because they say the 58-year-old building is overcrowded, inaccessible to the handicapped and structurally unsafe.
A report by city consultant David Taubman, a structural engineer, found that City Hall and the fire station next door are "over-stressed" and could not be strengthened to meet Los Angeles city earthquake codes.
In March, 1986, the city's insurance company canceled earthquake insurance for both buildings because of excessive risk.
The city is trying to interest the Culver City Unified School District, the Municipal Court, the Chamber of Commerce and other agencies to locate in the new facility. They would help pay for construction.
Jim Boulgarides, a former mayor of Culver City, spoke against the Overland site at Monday's meeting, saying he questioned the need for a "grandiose" city hall or civic center.
"We should be a little more modest and stay within our means," he said.
But if a new city hall or civic center were built, Boulgarides said he preferred that it be located downtown.
The agency's reversal prompted Boulgarides to say that he "was pleased to see they were open-minded and responsive and willing to reconsider the matter."
Hall-Esser said agency staff is considering four, and possibly more, sites downtown, including 1.38 acres on the southwest corner of Culver Boulevard and Irving Street and 1.8 acres on Washington Boulevard between Irving and Van Buren Place.
The present city hall site and a triangular lot bounded by Culver, Washington and Main Street were ruled out earlier but may be re-evaluated, she said.