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?
Out with lawn grass strips, in with drought tolerant plantings and food gardens!
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.
CULVER CITY PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS
ADOPTION of a RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING
RESIDENTIAL PARKWAY STANDARDS
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:
§ 9.08.210—PLANTINGS, LANDSCAPING, HARDSCAPES OR OTHER ITEMS IN PARKWAYS: PERMIT REQUIRED
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:
§ 9.08.230 — VIOLATIONS UNLAWFUL; PENALTIES; ADMINISTRATIVE COST RECOVERY
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:
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!)
11375 Matteson Ave. — Showcase Garden #5F — Transition Town Guest Booth
Saturday, April 20, 2013
10 am – 4 pm
SELF-GUIDED TOUR of 100 RESIDENTIAL GARDENS
Throughout our Community!
Tour Maps available at:
Showcase Central — House #4H >>
Transition Town Guest Booth — House #5F >>
11375 Matteson Avenue, L.A. 90066
This annual Earth Day event in Mar Vista offers self-guided tours of 100 home gardens that exemplify environmentally friendly alternatives to the classic lawn. These local homeowners, renters, schools and churches have all taken the leap and converted their thirsty green expanses into drought-tolerant landscapes and edible gardens. The tour covers the spectrum from homespun do-it-yourself projects to professionally landscaped environments—including urban farms, sleek architectural hardscapes, composting & vermiculture, rain harvesting, aquaponics, chicken coops, sculpture gardens, hummingbird gardens… you name it! This year’s tour places special emphasis on the critical need for ocean friendly gardens and California native gardens that support much needed pollinators such as honey bees and monarch butterflies. It’s a great day to gather ideas and inspiration for your own future lawn conversion!
The International TRANSITION TOWNS movement will be represented at the special guest booth at house #5F, 11375 Matteson Ave., Los Angeles CA 90066. It’s a collaboration between two local chapters: TCC (of course) and our neighbors, Transition Mar Vista/Venice. So if you’re not in a hurry to see the other 99 showcase gardens, there’s plenty of al fresco patio areas here to sit down, pour a lemonade, and hang out to chat with like-minded people about community resilience, food security solutions, permaculture, alternative building, water harvesting, food forests, and much more.
Learn about Transition Mar Vista/Venice’s pay-it-forward Good Karma Gardens work parties—they’re a great way to get started if you want to learn how to grow your own food! And if you need even more motivation to drop by, come by to meet seedling master Matt Van Diepen (of Mar Vista Farmers’ Market fame!) who will be on hand with FREE veggie seedling giveaways and advice on how to include more home-grown edibles in your life. Owner of Home Grown Gardens L.A., Matt is one of GKG’s skilled project coordinators.
This year, House #5F features dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes, a brilliant display of spring wildflowers, stealth veggies interspersed with drought tolerant natives, meandering flagstone pathways and do-it-yourself bistro-style hardscaping all done under strict budgetary parameters—everything cheap, recycled, scavenged and free! For helpful Do-It-Yourself tips, read the event report and access the resource links from last year’s Showcase workshop D.I.Y.: Yes You Can!: Creative Lawn Conversions on a Budget.
Another feature at this location is an unusual “hybrid” active and passive urban rainwater harvesting system. Last winter the homeowners hosted a barn-raising-style Work Party to install the system. (SEE VIDEO HERE!) The volunteer crew, wrangled by Transition-friendly landscape architect John Tikotsky, created a passive diversion “reservoir” to help recharge the aquifer, helped install unique vertical tanks (an alternative to conventional rain barrels) for active catchment, and positioned a subsurface diverter pipe to feed the percolation area. The reservoir berms were planted with California native currants (ribes family) and shade happy leafy greens as the beginnings of an edible food forest understory. All this, in one day—a true demonstration of the power of community!
PEDAL-POWER! FREE BICYCLE PARKING
In efforts to support our community’s shift to a fossil-free future, TCC and our friends at the Culver City Bicycle Coalition are co-hosting a “pop-up” bike corral at House # 5F. Celebrate Earth Day in style: Visitors are invited to lower their carbon footprint by cruising the garden tour by bike!
Showcase maps are available at the Transition Guest Booth or Showcase Central at House #4F at 3635 Grandview Blvd.
2012 Showcase Bike Corral
A short report on TCC’s participation in Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase which occurred on Earth Day—April 21st, 2012:
The Bike Corral came in handy as the TCC Bike Tour of the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase arrived en masse at the first garden on their itinerary.
- We made it! Michelle leads the TCC Bike Caravan to House #1 on the Green Garden Showcase Tour
After lemonade and snacks, the group settled in for TCC’s presentation, “D.I.Y.: Yes You Can! Creative Lawn Conversions on a Budget.” Attendees picked up some helpful tips for finding inexpensive and creative ways to convert a conventional lawn into a drought-tolerant landscape.
This Showcase location exemplifies the D.I.Y. philosophy: it features a bistro-style patio hardscape, “urbanite” terraces, meandering flagstone walkways and a homemade park bench, dwarf fruit trees & stealth edibles mixed in with drought tolerant natives, plus two methods of rainwater capture—all accomplished D.I.Y. and under strict budgetary parameters (everything cheap, recycled, or free!).
The TCC bike caravan then rode five blocks west to the next Showcase garden on their itinerary, Yuling’s fabulous Chinese herbal garden, before heading to points beyond. Perhaps a full report of the Bike Tour will appear here soon…
Below is some information from the hand-out from D.I.Y. presentation, including resource links… Enjoy!
• • •
D.I.Y.: Yes You Can! Creative Lawn Conversions On a Budget
(Recycled • Used • Repurposed • Unwanted & Abandoned: It’s All Good!)
Presented by Transition Culver City
Saturday, April 21, 2012 • 11:30 a.m.
•1st Step is Observation: How does nature function on your property thru the seasons? (sun, wind, water).
• Identify your Zones around your home & personal usage patterns
• Will the project be gradual, step-wise, or a grand transformation?
SOIL, COMPOST, MULCH, & OTHER HARDSCAPING MATERIALS:
• Neighbors, Noticing Your Environment, Word of Mouth in the Community
• Freecycle, Craig’s List, Free Green Exchange, etc.
• Our Time Bank: Sharing Economy (from materials urbanite to tool borrowing)
• Free Mulch & Compost from LA City
• Mulch: Ask local tree trimming companies working in your neighborhood
• Soil: look for local remodel activity
• Venice Learning Garden (donations appreciated) — mulch & compost
• Sharing clippings & seeds with neighbors
• Venice Learning Garden — just ask what needs cleaning up… and reap the benefits by leaving with clippings & rootballs
• Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA) — non-GMO, heirloom seed — come swap & learn about seed saving!
• Unlabeled plants at the gardening shops— deep discounts
• Once again, Freecycle, Craig’s List, Free Green Exchange, etc.
Repurposed & Make It Yourself Items:
• “Stacking Functions” = many yields from a single element
Examples: Benches, bistro planters, pavers, bamboo trellises and gates, “hugelkultur,” greenhouse.
Getting The Work Done:
• Work parties — Barn Raising Style
• Our Time Bank — work trade
• Teen or college-student labor from the neighborhood or recommended by friends
E A R T H D A Y 2 0 1 2
Saturday, April 21
10 am – 4 pm
Join us on a bike tour of the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase on Saturday, April 21st, 2012, including a FREE D.I.Y. presentation!
TCC Bicycle Meet-Up:
The fountain in front of Vet’s Park
(corner of Culver & Overland)
Our first stop on the Tour is House #5H (see description), for refreshments & a presentation by TCC:
D.I.Y.: Yes You Can!
Creative Lawn Conversions on a Budget
11375 Matteson Ave., LA 90066
TCC's D.I.Y. Presentation @ the 2011 MV Green Garden Showcase
Bike Parking provided for the TCC Bike Tour!
This year’s D.I.Y. presentation by members of TCC will include creative ideas, resources & encouragement for converting a conventional lawn to a drought-tolerant landscape without breaking your budget. This location exemplifies the D.I.Y. philosophy: it features a bistro-style patio hardscape, “urbanite” terraces, meandering flagstone walkways & a homemade park bench, dwarf fruit trees & stealth edibles mixed in with drought tolerant natives, plus two methods of rainwater capture—all done D.I.Y. & under strict budgetary parameters (everything cheap, recycled, or free!).
After the presentation we will make our way to several other Showcase homes (we’ll post the TCC bike tour route map soon). The plan is to cycle back to Vet’s Park sometime in the mid- to late-afternoon.
Remember to pack fluids & snacks or a light lunch (since we’ll be out mid-day).
RSVP Michelle: 310-780-1051
Join the Work Party — Saturday, June 25th 9am-2pm & Sunday, June 26th, 9am-3pm
on Madison Ave. in Culver City (please RSVP email@example.com for address)
Grass-UP-Roots campaign launch in April
Come help convert a local lawn into a sustainable garden, with food, music & lots of community spirit. The Transition Culver City Grass-UP-Roots Campaign is a pay-it-forward work party (with emphasis on the party!) where two Culver City homes are being awarded the “treatment” of experienced on-site lawn conversion guidance and support plus access to materials in order to transform their front lawns into drought tolerant food gardens.
On Saturday, June 25th, we will gather materials for our first lawn conversion and prep the site for the next workday. On Sunday, we will sheet-mulch and plant.
Volunteers are a key element of the project. Participants will learn first hand how to transform a lawn to a water-conserving space for natives, vegetables and other plants suitable for a Mediterranean climate. Bring gloves, sunscreen & your garden tools or use tools provided. Part of the fun is a group meal provided by the host for all the volunteers.
The Grass-up-Roots campaign offers an opportunity to build community in your neighborhood, make new friends and have fun while tackling a large project. Picture old-fashioned barn-raising—conquering inertia for change through camaraderie and skillful goodwill. Fill out the volunteer form here.
RSVP for address and more info: firstname.lastname@example.org -or- (310)845-5831
—– Also don’t miss the Eco-movie night on Saturday 6:30 pm – see this post for details! —–