Category: council meetings

The Parkway Landscaping Report: YES, the Public WILL be Heard!

Drought Tolerant Parkway Curb


Will Culver City residents be allowed to put veggies on the parkways abutting their homes?

Can property owners place benches and community library boxes on the parkways without getting fined? 

In these economically challenging times, would a permit fee of $151.50 for installing drought tolerant perennials and succulents in one’s parkway promote or prevent people from removing their thirsty lawn strips? 

How can our city ordinances support best-use of abundant residential parkway public land?

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Residential Parkway Regulations to be Discussed at City Hall – TUESDAY May 28, 2013

Out with lawn grass strips, in with drought tolerant plantings and food gardens!


Parkway Regulations


Many Southern California cities are re-writing their residential parkway ordinances to be more in alignment with the environmental need for drought tolerance while creating a framework for aesthetics and ease of use. Now Culver City governance has Parkways on the agenda this coming TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013 and you — yes you! — can be part of the conversation.


TUESDAY, May 28th, 2013, 7pm

Culver City Council Chambers
9770 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 90232

From Culver City’s Official Public Notice of Meeting :

On Tuesday, May 28, 2013, the City Council is scheduled to consider the 1) Introduction of an ordinance related to the process for tree removals and the requirements for making modifications to parkways; and (2) Adoption of a resolution establishing Residential Parkway Standards. All members of the public are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion.

If you live locally and are reading this website, it is most likely you’ve already converted your parkway to something more environmentally friendly with an array of luxurious drought-happy plants and bushes. And perhaps you’re growing a patch of veggies there, or put a park bench and a winding path in your parkway to help build community in your neighborhood like City Repair has encouraged throughout Portland, Oregon. Or maybe you’ve even installed a Little Free Library to promote literacy & solidarity in your neighborhood! Well, it looks like all of this and more will be out-of-compliance and incurring permit fees and possible fines if the new regulations go through unchallenged.

SEE CULVER CITY’s new proposed ordinance here >>
(scroll to Agenda Item A-1)
NOTE: There’s also information on tree removal in the ordinance,
but the focus of this blogpost is on parkway landscaping.

Come deliver your 3 minutes of opinion in person to the council,
or if you can’t attend but wish to express your views,
write an email to the council
Please familiarize yourself with the actual 5/28 agenda item report
(just posted 5/22) so you’ll be up to date with the facts.

When you come to City Hall chambers, fill out a speaker’s card—ask for assistance if it’s your first time.

IN A NUTSHELL: The report drafted by staff is an amendment to a chapter of city municipal code pertinent to Parkway Planting Standards and Tree Removal Regulations & Ordinances. Exhibit C&D of the report includes a list of recommended plantings: 20 lawn alternatives (EXHIBIT C, no permit required) and 64 drought tolerant perennials & low bushes (EXHIBIT D, permit required)—nothing over 30 inches allowed. No edibles, no garden veggies, no fruit trees. And there’s hardscaping limitations too.  TO VIEW THE LIST of recommended plants which includes helpful color reference pictures, go to the 5/28/13 Agenda report, scroll to Item A-1, click on the underlined description, then click on the PDF of “Attachments” on the right, then scroll to “Exhibit D”… whew!

Too much work? Here’s some excerpts from the proposed ordinance:


A.   No person shall plant any tree, plant, shrub, flower, vine, vegetable, grain, or other vegetation in or on any Parkway in the City without first obtaining a permit from the Public Works Director. Such permit shall state the variety, location and size of trees, plants and shrubs to be planted.

B.  No person shall install, construct, deposit, or maintain any stepping stones, pavers, brick, rock, concrete structure or any other item or obstacle in or on any Parkway within the City without first obtaining a permit from the Public Works Director. Such permit shall state the type and location of materials to be installed, constructed, deposited or maintained…

If we’ve read the report correctly, it says that, pending passage of this proposed ordinance and Standards, a processing application & inspection fee for a basic parkway permit (other than walkable plantings selected from the recommended list) of $151.50 will be enacted. We’re hoping for some clarification on this point.

Here’s more from the proposed Ordinance about code violations:


C.   A violation of any provision of this Subchapter is subject to a civil action brought by the City Attorney, punishable by a civil fine not less than one hundred dollars ($100) and not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation for each day, or part thereof, such violation occurs.
D.  A violation of any provision of this Subchapter may, at the discretion of the City Attorney, be prosecuted as an infraction or misdemeanor and subject to the criminal penalties provided in Sections 1.01.040 and 1.01.045 of this Code…
F.  It is the intent of the City Council to recover the costs incurred by the City from: (1) enforcing and obtaining compliance with the provisions of this Subchapter and (2) damage to City property resulting from violations of the Subchapter.

Continuing on to page 7, concerning EXISTING NON-CONFORMING PARKWAYS, the report says:

There are currently a significant number of unpermitted alterations to parkways that will be out-of-compliance with these proposed Residential Parkway Standards (and with the existing CCMC and Proposed Ordinance, if adopted, which require a permit). Code Enforcement has not been aggressively pursuing these violations due to the lack of clear Standards and a designated permit process. With the adoption of the proposed Residential Parkway Standards,  the Code Enforcement Division has indicated that it intends to prioritize enforcement based on complaints received and the severity of the violations, consistent with the current Council-approved approach.

And here’s some illustrations from Exhibit B of the Report’s Attachments:

CC Parkway Agenda ItemA1-Dos&Donts


Can Culver City create customized regulations to suit the needs of our residents? Can we plan ahead as an entire community to become more resilient and food-growing-friendly in the face of challenging times or have a conversation about appropriate use of public space for the public good? Come let Culver City governance know your opinion!

If you’d like to learn more about this issue from the Los Angeles perspective, here’s some interesting stories:

“Taking Back the Streets through Urban Agriculture” from ROOTS OF CHANGE >>

An opinion about the L.A. Parkway Planting Rules from our friends the urban D.I.Y. homestead folks at ROOT SIMPLE >>

SUCCESSFUL CHALLENGE of L.A. MUNICIPAL CODE  § 56.08: Support Growing Edibles on the Parkway in L.A. >>

The inspirational story of LA’s Urban Garden Guerrilla Ron Finley on TED TALKS, Long Beach, Feb 2013:

(over a million views!)

If embedded video not visible above, click here to view:

Hope to see you at City Hall on Tuesday, May 28th!


Read about how the vote went  >>>
(spoiler alert: happy beginning, much more story to unfold!)

Plastic Bag Ordinance being presented to City Council Monday, May 13, 2013

City of Culver City
City Council Agenda Item:

Introduction of
Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance
and Adoption of
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Determination


The proposed ordinance proposes to ban the issuance of plastic single-use carryout bags (excluding product and produce bags) and requires that covered stores impose a minimum 10 cent charge on each recyclable paper carryout bag. These charges are retained by the stores. Low income customers participating in either the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or in the CalFresh/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are exempted from these charges.

The proposed ordinance covers the following types of stores (approx. 72 retailers in Culver City are anticipated to meet these criteria):

1. A full-line, self-service retail store with gross annual sales of two million dollars ($2,000,000), or more, that sells a line of dry grocery, canned goods, or non-food items and some perishable items; or,

2. A store of at least 10,000 square feet of retail space that generates sales or use tax and that has a pharmacy; or

3. A drug store, pharmacy, supermarket, grocery store, convenience food store, food mart, or other entity engaged in the retail sale of a limited line of goods that includes milk, bread, soda, and snack foods, including those stores with a license issued by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

In order to allow sufficient time for businesses to use up their existing inventory of bags and to adjust to the requirements of the proposed ordinance, its implementation is proposed to be phased in. Larger stores will be given six months from the effective date of the proposed ordinance (approximately 210 days after the date of adoption of the proposed ordinance by the City Council) to comply, whereas smaller stores will be given twelve months from the effective date of the proposed ordinance (approximately 395 days after the date of adoption of the proposed ordinance by the City Council).

The proposed ordinance is very similar to the Los Angeles County Ordinance. The minor modifications that are proposed include:

1) Requiring retailers to post signage clearly indicating the per bag charge for recyclable paper carryout bags so customers are not surprised by the charges.

2) Replacing the quarterly reporting requirement with a requirement that stores keep records and make them available to the City upon request. This should reduce the reporting burden on stores and staff time required for oversight.

3) Specifying a minimum charge of 10 cents rather than a charge of exactly 10 cents. This will allow stores flexibility to charge more than 10 cents for each recyclable paper bag, recognizing that some stores may pay more than 10 cents for the bags they provide to customers.

4) Enabling the minimum 10 cent charge to be increased by resolution. This change will make it easier for the City Council to raise the charge if it elects to do so at a future date (for example, if the minimum 10 cent charge is no longer effective at achieving the desired reductions in bag use due to inflation or other factors).

5) Changing the effective date of the proposed ordinance and the account for depositing fines.


The notifcation sent out to residents:

Announcement of Ordinance

See You at City Council Chambers Monday May 13 – Support the Plastic Bag Ban!

Support the Plastic Bag Ban in Culver City

bag monster

WHEN:  Monday, May 13th, 2013, 7 pm

WHERE:  Culver City Hall , Council Chambers 9770 Culver Blvd.  Culver City  90230

Let your voice be heard with our local governance!
This coming Monday night May 13th, staff will introduce the proposed Plastic Bag Ordinance to the Culver City Council to discuss and vote on. (READ THE ORDINANCE DETAILS HERE)

1) Introduction of an Ordinance banning single-use plastic carryout bags and requiring a minimum $0.10 per bag charge for single-use paper carryout bags; and 2) Adoption of Resolutions adopting an Addendum to the Los Angeles County Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), Mitigation Monitoring Program, and Statement of Overriding Considerations in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

If you live, work, play or shop in Culver City, please help us communicate the importance of reducing plastic bag use in our city by delivering your 3 minutes in person to the council, or by writing an email to the council to be read aloud in the chambers. When you come to City Hall chambers, fill out a speaker’s card—ask for assistance if its your first time.



by Gary Walker in the 05/09/13 Culver City News >>

Here are some helpful talking points
From Heal the Bay >>

From Surfrider >>

Culver City Hall decorated with Plastic Bags What our community had to say about this issue back in 2010 >>

TCC’s Plastic Bag Think Tank Video >>
Council member Meghan Sahli-Wells’ Plastic Bag Report on >>

Where do many of those bags end up? Swirling around in one of the FIVE GYRES! >>

Get Ready for MISINFORMATION TACTICS from the Plastic Bag Industry >> 

In Defense of Plastic Bag Bans (on GreenBiz blog) >> 

Plastic Bag Ban Article in Rolling Stone “PLASTIC BAG WARS” article in Rolling Stone >>


Trashed Film with Jeremy IronsDon’t think there’s a problem? THINK AGAIN. 
TCC recently co-hosted a screening of a riveting documentary called TRASHED starring Jeremy Irons as the beleaguered narrator traveling around the world seeing how humanity has been dealing with its refuse. ONE OF THE BIG OFFENDERS is the seemingly innocuous single use plastic grocery bag… because plastic never really ever goes “away.” When it breaks down, the miniscule pieces of bag are mistaken for plankton and consumed by the bottom of the food chain, which then is consumed on up the food chain until it reaches us! Watch Jeremy age before your very eyes as the facts & stats unfold:  TRAILER >>

We have a chance to make a difference here in Culver City if we can convince our council members that banning single use plastic bags by larger grocery store chains is a change mandated by the people. Will you stand up and speak out next Monday?

Culver City Council [finally] Addresses Plastic Bag Ban, Mon, Dec.10, 2012 7pm – BE THERE!!


Plastic Bag Public Hearing


Come one, come all—Let your voice be heard with our local governance!
The Culver City Council will be hearing public comments and deciding a policy direction for Culver City’s plastic bag policy. After LA County and LA City, Culver City is the last jurisdiction on Ballona Creek without a plastic bag ban.  We need to turn out all interested Culver City residents for maximum impact:


Monday, December 10th, 2012 7pm

Culver City Council Chambers
9770 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 90232

Culver City residents only, please email your support to the
Culver City Mayor and Councilmembers in advance:

Help us protect Santa Monica Bay and the oceans beyond by stopping pollution before it starts. Come deliver your 3 minutes in person to the council, or write an email to the council to be read aloud next Monday night in the chambers.

When you come to City Hall chambers, fill out a speaker’s card—ask for assistance if its your first time.

Here are some helpful talking points:

From Heal the Bay >>

From Surfrider >>

A blog link to pass along >>

Culver City Hall decorated with Plastic Bags TCC’s Plastic Bag Think Tank Video >>

Council member Meghan Sahli-Wells’ Plastic Bag Report on >>

A recent article in the Culver City News by Gary Walker >>

For inspiration: THE MAJESTIC PLASTIC BAG (a mockumentary) >>

Where do many of those bags end up? Swirling around in one of the FIVE GYRES! >>

Get Ready for MISINFORMATION TACTICS from the Plastic Bag Industry >> 

In Defense of Plastic Bag Bans (on GreenBiz blog) >> 

“PLASTIC BAG WARS” article in Rolling Stone >>

And your official TCC FACEBOOK invite >>



WORDS MATTER: Culver City Council votes 5-0 in favor of statewide Fracking BAN!

Ban Fracking in CC

photo: J. Oyama

With this motion, Culver City becomes the first California municipality to approve a resolution to call for a statewide ban against fracking.

Prior to Monday night’s (July 2, 2012) vote, the council was considering calling on the state for a moratorium.  However, as Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells stated on the dais: “We have to be bold. The state needs pressure. We don’t have time to mess around. The message really does matter—‘Ban’ sends a strong message.” Vice Mayor Jeff Cooper echoed Sahli-Wells’ sentiments, stating,  “ ’Ban’ shows we’re serious. We should let the state know how we really feel.” Initially, Councilmembers Jim Clarke and Micheal O’Leary favored a moratorium over a ban but… Read the entire Council report on Culver City PATCH >>

As a longtime steering committee member of Transition Culver City, Meghan has a firm understanding in local environmental issues—and now she serves our entire city in an official capacity! Meghan showed great courage and elegant statesmanship at the meeting as she remained true to her position until all five councilmembers achieved consensus. Here’s what Meghan had to say post-meeting on Culver City Patch:

Ban Fracking in Culver City Demonstration

Demonstration at City Hall, June 12. Photo by Kate Parkinson-Morgan

“Words matter. The original resolution called for a moratorium… but after hearing from scores of residents over the last several months and reading many studies, reports, and articles, I made the motion to change the word moratorium in the resolution to ban.” Read Meghan’s whole commentary on PATCH >>

A bold first step has been made by our City Council in protecting the health of our environment and our citizens. To be continued!