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Culver City Council Approves New 7-Eleven Store

The Culver City City Council voted 4-1 in favor of the uniquely designed convenience store on the corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and Braddock Drive.

Following three hours of presentations, discussions and deliberations, the Culver City City Council officially approved the establishment of a 2,500 square foot 7-11 convenience store at Sepulveda Boulevard and Braddock Drive with 12 parking spaces.

In the 4-1 vote that took place close to 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells was the only one who chose not to support the project in its current format.

The council’s decision brings to a close almost two years of negotiations, including three public hearings, two Planning Commission meetings, several redesigns and a vociferous slew of residential opposition.

Following the decision, Rob Katherman, the planning consultant for the Katherman Companies on the project told Patch that after two years of setbacks, “we’re really glad to see that the project got approved. I think it’s going to be an architectural jewel in Culver City,” he said of the almost futuristically designed structure.

Katherman also thanked City staff for the “collaborative process that has resulted in a smart-looking design for the building.”

The sticking points at Monday night’s meeting focused largely on traffic mitigation and concerns by residents that a traffic study and a gap study provided either incorrect or insufficient data.

Residents argued during the public hearing section that additional traffic would not only cause more accidents in the area but posed a real threat to children walking, cycling or skating to and from the local schools.

Alexandra Mills  - an attorney – reiterated the same argument she made at a Planning Commission hearing, namely that a child would be hit by a car one day and the City would be sued as a result.

There was also a lot of discussion around the alley where the Taco Bell is situated and the dangers posed by traffic there, too. It was one of the main sticking points for Sahli-Wells who said she could not support the project when there had been no studies done on the potential hazards from the alley.

However, Culver City Community Development Director Sol Blumenfeld noted that the applicant was not responsible for having to deal with the issues surrounding the alley.  

Tom Oliver spoke about constantly picking up the trash in the alley by the Taco Bell, and said, “This project will increase traffic in an already congested corner. Braddock Drive is not wide enough as a feeder street and it feeds traffic all the way to the [405] freeway.”

 However, a couple of residents supported the store. Chris Grossman noted that the empty lot has been “a festering sore” for the past 14 years.  He said that Sepulveda is a main onramp to the 405 anyway and the additional traffic from the 7-Eleven will make little difference.

“A vote for this project will bring property and sales tax to the city, increase local property values by removing the eyesore and make the area a more inviting place for other businesses,” Grossman said.

Councilmember Jim Clarke also noted that the small and odd shaped size and location of the site meant that it could only hold a convenience store, financial institution or fast food establishment.

Each of the four council members that supported the project moving forward, did however talk about some of their reservations and came to a consensus because the developer agreed to review any issues at their own expense six months after the store has been up and running, and again after 12 months.

“I don’t think we’re going to know the true traffic impacts until the project is built,” said Mayor Andy Weissman. “I think that the condition that was provided to us this evening that not only provides for a follow up study in six months and 12 months also obligates the applicant should the studies reveal traffic related impacts to pay for whatever the mitigation is to deal with those impacts.”

All the council members agreed that a barrier, median strip or at the very least a No Left Turn sign onto Sepulveda would lessen any potential traffic hazards. Clarke recommended making the entrance to the store on Braddock only.

Katherman told Patch they now plan to start preparing plans as quickly as possible to get the 7-Eleven project moving.

“We hope to have a building permit in three months and hopefully open the store six months after that,” he said.

What do you think of the City Council's decision to approve the new 7-11 project? Tell us in the comments, below.

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C Honda September 11, 2012 at 11:52 PM
NO!!!!!! As a resident of this neighborhood, I have to say that this is a bad idea!! Our City Council is so out of touch!! I will make a point to NOT vote for each and every one of them!
Scott Gordon September 12, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Yes. Having something real is so much better than the mythical perfect small business that will magically appear some time in the next 14 years. I'll make a point to vote for every council member TWICE!
Clueless in Culver City September 12, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Oh Thank Heaven!
BRamsey September 12, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Putting this type of store in just degrades the neighborhood and CC...the building is UGLY; I wonder if the council members would want it next to their home. What this city needs to do is require local businesses to have employee and customer parking or turn this lot into a parking space for those businesses. Even another gas station would be more welcome than a sleazy 7Eleven which serves hotdogs that roll on the roller for 8 hours a day. I agree with C.Honda NOT to support any of the current Council members. I don't remember when CC has ever had a council where each member could make up their own mind and not play "follow the leader".
Voters September 12, 2012 at 04:03 PM
This is what happens when Culver City voters choose their FRIENDS at the ballot box instead of the BEST CANDIDATES.
Westside Mom September 12, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Yeesh...just what CC needs. Another 7-11. Disappointing. The City Council does not have my support anymore either.
Kelly Hartog (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Meghan Sahli-Wells voted against it. She's a current council member. Does that mean you wouldn't support her either? You said you wouldn't support any of them.
Kelly Hartog (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Would love to know all your thoughts on what would be a better fit for this property? Any thoughts on why it lay dormant for 14 years and no other businesses came forward wanting the property? All 5 city council members said that a 7-Eleven was NOT their first choice but given that no one else has come forward in 14 years and given the fact that the council has no legal standing to deny someone the right to build because they "don't like it" what do you think could possibly have been done instead?
Damien Daurio September 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Considering this lot was previously a gas station, there are likely environmental issues with regards to developing the lot that add costs. As many residents noted, Braddock is not a traffic-friendly street. That combined with other factors of that particular corner has probably contributed to the lack of interest from potential businesses. There have already been several business closures in that area and I would not be terribly surprised if that stretch of Sepulveda isn't somehow bad for small businesses. If 7-11 is the only business in over a decade to show any interest, then I suppose there is little choice otherwise. Sahli-Wells voted against the proposal in its current state, that does not necessarily mean she opposes the idea of a 7-11, just the current proposal. 7-11 is not inherently bad, nor does it spell certain doom for the neighborhood. I am concerned about it possibly becoming a detrimental hang out for our teenagers, but that could easily happen any place kids are drawn towards. In the end, I think the City Council made the best possible choice. Do I want another 7-11 in the area? No. Do I like the building design? No. Do I think it's going to make school drop-offs, getting to the Y, and driving around the neighborhood in general a bigger pain? Yes. Especially during construction. Will I become a customer at that 7-11 when it opens? Probably. Definitely, if they have a Red Box machine. After all, it is a convenience store, making life more convenient.
C September 14, 2012 at 10:50 PM
My home is the one directly behind Taco Bell and honestly I know first hand that the situation is bad as it is.There are times when I can not leave my driveway because drivers will not give me a chance because 95% are rushing to and from the school complex. Now the trash we get in front of our home is terrible and if you drive by here you will often see a woman sweeping up around the house day in and day out! The type of crowds that Taco Bell attracts are young people that are careless and 7 Eleven is Worse!!!!!
CMH September 15, 2012 at 09:46 PM
The post above illustrates that the "convenience" is only for those who do NOT live in our neighborhood. It is going to create a terrible INconvenience for those of us who live in the immediate area. The City Council settled, just like a desperate woman who would rather have a dirty drunk than no one at all. Unfortunately, they will not be the ones who will have to deal with the mess and stench of their poor decision.
Eric September 16, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Agreed. However it is the City's fault that they let the property owner of the corner property go vacant this long.Or was it the property owner wanted to lease the space out for more money than what it was truly worth for a small business and not a corporation to be able to pay. The city should have worked with the owner to turn it into additional metered parking spaces for the other local businesses until the owner was able to lease or sell to any other retail establishment or build it into a micro city park with benches and some historical monuments of Culver City's past. I'm afraid that if we do not keep a close eye on this it will turn into the dated and unkempt 7/11 that we have on Washington Washington and Sawtelle.
CMH September 16, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Great points, Mike. I am wondering if us tax paying citizens have any recourse at this point.

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