Ambiguous changes to Floor Area Ratio show lack of care from council

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter was originally sent directed to and sent towards members of the city council on Friday, May 22.

Hello,

I am writing in response to the letter I received regarding yet another change to the Floor Area Ratio (FAR). It seems over the last four years, Culver City has worked hard to diminish its once proud identity in order to become a mini Los Angeles. It seems that imposing rules and regulation that negatively affect homeowners and developers has become the new political benchmark for Culver City. Not to mention the dirty politics that occurred in the last election, and a disgusting door-to-door smear campaign of an individual who more than defined with this city once stood for.

To say I am disgusted with our current leadership is an understatement!

What made Culver City special is the fact that it was not Los Angeles. It was its own city, formed by families with a long and proud history that began right here, like mine!

The concept of change is meant to improve one’s current situation — to make everything better as a whole. Your job and obligation as elected officials is to work to improve the community as a whole, not to work against the community, and especially not for your own personal gain.

In regards to FAR, 60% was a reduction from the original building calculations that were based on setbacks. Now, you want to drop the 60% FAR to 50%, which not only devalues properties, but makes development and redevelopment next to impossible.

When the city made the mistake of approving the redevelopment at 10753 Cranks Rd., the whole neighborhood felt the aftermath and several months later, those same neighbors were punished with the newly imposed code changes. The approval of this god-awful looking monstrosity was that of the Culver City Building and Planning Department. It was not the decision of the Culver Crest and Upper Crest homeowners. However, it was the homeowners who were ultimately punished, me being one of them!

I had a development project at 10701 Flaxton St. that was being submitted to Building and Safety. Two weeks after the plans were submitted, I was told to come pick up my plans because a moratorium was placed on all hillside lots. Ironically, 10701 Flaxton is on the lower crest, and was never considered upper crest or hillside, yet the moratorium now extended to my newly purchased lot.

It took over five months for my lot to be released from the moratorium.

Once I resubmitted the plans to Building and Safety, I was then informed that the city moved to a 60% FAR calculation, which then caused me to reduce and redesign the plans I had already paid for and submitted. Based on the new code change, which was enforced during the moratorium, my house plans were reduced from 3900 square feet to 3200 square feet. In addition, five months of carrying cost, property taxes, and complete redesign/engineering fees were added to my expenses. I am the one that gets hit with the financial damage and time delay for a building decision I had nothing to do with, nor would I have supported had I had that right.

I then purchase a 10741 Cranks Rd. to develop. Shortly after, I find out that the newly enforced hillside ordinance reduced my 60% FAR to 35% of lot size based on a now required slope analysis. The result reduced my floor plan from 4200 square feet to 2500 square feet. Keep in mind, the three houses to my left are between 4200 and 5000 square feet, all of which the city approved.

The recent facts make me strongly question your ability to make smart decisions that both improve and protect our homeowners and citizens. I would hope at some point, you understand that the purpose of your job as elected officials is to serve and protect the best interests of our community. Remember, it is families like mine that helped shaped this great city. I do not support or respect individuals like yourselves that now feel the need to change it. I ask that you do your job, serve your community, and show some respect to the actual people who shaped this great city.

— Darin Dolce