Keller to Hasse


    I’m writing to job Mr. Hasse’s memory and correct the record for the public. In his recent letter, he states that I originally supported “negotiations over a potential development agreement with the Malibu Bay Company to determine the future use of its 93 undeveloped acres throughout Malibu” but “changed my position at a subsequent City Council meeting.” Not so. I have always and continue to support open, public negotiations with the Bay Company and held many public meetings with them as a member of the Council Land Use Committee. What I opposed at that “subsequent council meeting” and continue to oppose is holding negotiations in private, out of the public eye.

    Mr. Hasse further states that “Mr. Keller and Ms. Van Horn themselves negotiated a proposed development agreement with the Malibu Bay Company, which was rejected by the City Council.” The Feb. 22, 1999 council agenda indicates the Land Use Subcommittee recommended to the council that they consider accepting approximately six acres of Bay Company Point Dume property with improvements, in return for a guarantee that buildable portions of those six acres would be included in determining the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for their remaining Point Dume land. As should be clear — this was a recommendation to consider — hardly a negotiated development agreement.

    The recommendation was ignored by a majority of council members, Hasse, House and Barovsky, and instead they voted to appoint Hasse and House to negotiate in private with the Bay Company on all their property. The reason I made the motion on just the Point Dume property was that after a year of public discussion with Bay Company representatives, it was the only concrete proposal that did not give the Bay Company more than they were already legally entitled to, and appeared at all beneficial to the community.

    The community should be aware that receiving land from a developer in return for a development agreement is not a “freebie.” Developers expect something in return, usually higher building density than otherwise would be allowed.

    I wonder if Mark Twain ever said anything about the errors of omission?

    Walt Keller