La Paz Project Keeps Two Permit Options

Malibu City Hall

This story has been updated. Please see editor’s note below.

The proposed La Paz project will continue forward with two separate permits — though only one will be used to build on the site — according to the Planning Commission’s Monday night decision granting a second permit extension to developers who are still determining exactly how the commercial space will come together.

The Planning Commission voted 3-1 Monday to grant a two-year extension on to the conditional development permit (CDP) for a proposed office park that was approved in 2008 to go into a plot of land on Civic Center Way and adjacent to the location of the proposed Whole Foods Project. The development is known colloquially as the La Paz Project.

The sole dissenting vote came from Commissioner John Mazza. Vice Chair Roohi Stack did not attend the meeting.

The La Paz Project currently has two separate CDPs, one allowing a .15 floor area ratio (FAR), and the second a .20 FAR, indicating how much of the land can be built upon. According to the report prepared by city staff, the reason for the two simultaneous CDPs was so developers had a backup in case the desired .20 FAR did not pass approval by the California Coastal Commission (CCC).

Both CDPs were approved by the CCC and planning staff had recommended the permit extension request be denied.

“The City does not typically allow a property owner to seek and obtain alternative entitlements for a single property,” the staff report reads. “The development agreement for the 0.20 project has now been approved and the justification for allowing the secondary approval eliminated,” it goes on to say.

Developers disagreed, stating that the .15 FAR was a security measure in case progress falls through on building the larger .20 FAR project.

“What if something happens to us or the city on the .20 project?” asked La Paz developer Don Schmitz. “We will still have the entitlement of the .15 project.”

Planning Commissioners did not see a need to eliminate either of the CDPs.

“In the .20 (project), they are obligated by a development agreement that requires them to do certain things, once of which is to build a 20,000 sq. ft. building for the city,” said Chair David Brotman.

“They don’t have to build it, they just have to design it,” said Mazza.

“And they have to give 500 grand toward it … I mean, yeah, that all costs money,” Brotman responded.

Editor’s note: a previous version of this story listed an incorrect location for the proposed La Paz project.