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Culver City May Lower Density Limits for Commercial Projects

December 20, 1987|SHELDON ITO | Times Staff Writer

The Culver City Redevelopment Agency is considering a reduction in the density of commercial projects planned for the southwestern part of the city in response to a long-range environmental impact report.

The report cited the impact on traffic that would be caused by major development in the vicinity of Fox Hills Mall.

Need for Limits

It supported the views by agency members, who are also members of the City Council, that limits must be placed on commercial and industrial development in the area.

Mayor Richard Brundo said the agency's policy has changed over the past year from wanting to attract as much development as possible to a stance of limited growth.

Agency member Paul Jacobs said the report showed him that the impact on traffic will be the major factor determining how much growth the agency should allow.

"I was alarmed by the potential and cumulative impact that all of the development could have on our streets," he said.

For example, the report states that even with measures such as the widening of certain intersections and programs to reduce the number of vehicle trips, 25 of 35 intersections in the area will be at capacity by 1995, assuming proposed projects outside of Culver City and about 1.4 million square feet of office and commercial space in the project area are built.

Agency members say that sewage capacity will be the other major determing factor that will limit growth in the area.

Operating Close to Capacity

Although Culver City is below the contractual limits set by the City of Los Angeles, the major sewer lines to the Hyperion Plant in Playa del Rey are presently operating very close to their physical limits, according to city engineer Jim Davis.

To limit growth, Brundo said, the agency has directed staff to study a 30% reduction in the historic floor-to-area ratio for the redevelopment district project area located near Fox Hills Mall.

City Atty. Joseph Pannone said the staff has not yet determined what the historic floor-to-area ratio is but said that Corporate Pointe, an office park within the project area, has a ratio of 1.5 square feet of office space to one square foot of land.

Much of the traffic congestion in Culver City will be caused by projects, such as the Playa Vista development, the Howard Hughes Center in Westchester and an industrial park north of Los Angeles International Airport, that are not under the city's control, a fact that has frustrated the agency.

"It's very difficult," said agency member Richard Alexander, but "there's not much you can do when you're totally surrounded by L.A. I guess you can close the streets, but I don't think people will agree to that."

"Clearly, (former Los Angeles Councilwoman) Pat Russell was very pro-development," Alexander said. "Hopefully, (Councilwoman) Ruth Galanter will be more amenable to mutual reductions in proposed developments."

The agency started work on the document about 1 1/2 years ago to analyze the effects that potential development on eight sites within Culver City and proposed projects outside the city will have on traffic, sewage, noise and other areas, Pannone said.

"This is the first step in Culver City's goal of creating responsible growth management," Pannone said.

Once updated traffic studies for the document are completed, the agency and the City Council will decide growth levels for the project, he said. The report was certified on Dec. 7.

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