Council rejects proposal for homes at Portshead Road

With only three members in attendance, the City Council voted Monday to reject a proposal to build six homes at a Point Dume site formerly approved by L.A. County for the construction of 28 condominiums.

The proposal was part of a settlement of an ongoing lawsuit. The compromise was hammered out between Layman Financial Services and city officials in October 1998. In return for permission to build six homes on the 3.75 acre parcel, Layman dropped any claims relating to the 1991 County Code that would have allowed the 28-unit condominium complex.

Neighbors at Monday’s meeting protested the lack of public notice about zoning changes, as well as the increased traffic caused by six homes on a private cul-de-sac. They insisted the city must enforce its RR-1 category of one home per one acre.

Andy Layman defended the formula worked out with city officials as a win-win situation for Malibu that would preserve a single-family buffer on the property that borders a commercial office building. Attorney Alan Block said his client “is attempting to be a good neighbor” and chose not to litigate his vested right to secure the 28-unit construction. Acting City Attorney Richard Terzian described the proposal as “an appropriate compromise.” Planning Director Chuck Ewing agreed the proposal was “better than hitting ourselves in the head with a larger hammer.”

Faced with questions from Walt Keller on whether the investors had considered the profit to be gleaned from three houses rather than six, Layman sought a continuance to come up with the necessary paperwork.

Mayor Carolyn Van Horn endorsed Keller’s approach, and remarked that with lower density, the “sense of community is maintained.” She stressed the site is on a slope and characterized it as a “wildlife corridor.”

Councilwoman Joan House favored a continuance, but as a tactic to secure reconsideration, voted with her colleagues to reject the proposed residential subdivision. She said she supported the compromise and would favor bringing the plans back to a subsequent council meeting at full strength.

“I’m being pushed back again,” said Layman, alluding to the loss of time. “I’m not a wealthy man,” he remarked, suggesting one option would be to sell the land to a major developer who could push the plans through.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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