Finance Plan Approved for Trancas Field Purchase

Malibu City Hall

Malibu City Council Monday approved a specific purchase plan for a 35-acre tract of land at Trancas Canyon Road.

The city will pay roughly $600,000 annually for 30 years for the Trancas property. The overall cost is dependent on market interest rates and is estimated at $11.3 million. 

City Council approved the purchase of the Trancas property on Aug. 8. Many ideas have been shared for how to use the land, including a satellite library, a dog park or open space.

The city previously began preliminary research on constructing a skatepark dedicated to the memory of late Malibu-based extreme athlete Johnny Strange at the Trancas site. 

Johnny’s father, Brian Strange, has pledged $1 million in matching funds if the city chooses to construct a skate park within a reasonable amount of time. 

No official plan has been decided for how the Trancas property will be used. The Parks and Recreation Commission will be taking suggestions from the Malibu community in the near future.

Funds for the purchase were made available by refinancing Certificates of Participation issued for City Hall in 2009 and 2010. 

When the city originally paid for City Hall, it intended to use the building’s theater for private use. In order to allow private events, the city needed specific taxable certificates that were more expensive to maintain. City staff recognized that in the past six years the city’s theater had not been used for private use. 

The vote by council allowed the city to refinance city hall and refund the private use certificates to the market, which will pay for the Trancas property.

“We’re getting two birds with one stone,” City Manager Reva Feldman said.

By refinancing the certificates, the City Hall debt has been reduced by $170,000 annually. 

The city will continue to pay $1.2 million a year for City Hall, down from $1.4 million before the refinancing.

Feldman announced that the city had its credit rating maintained at Triple AAA by Standard & Poors. The city had not received a credit rating since March 2015.

“That’s the highest rating a municipality can receive,” Feldman said. “This high rating certainly helps us when we go to market with interest rates.”


Polystyrene ban expanded effective Jan. 1, 2017

Third time’s the charm for the city’s attempts to eliminate polystyrene from Malibu.

On Sept. 26 city council voted unanimously to enact a full ban on polystyrene foam products effective Jan. 1, 2017. 

The city previously passed ordinance 286, which prohibited the sale of many expanded polystyrene products. 

In August, Mayor Pro Tem Skylar Peak attempted to expand the ban to individual use but council chose to wait on research from what other cities have done before they took action.

Environmental Director Craig George said an important aspect of the new ban was redefining the scope.

“By changing the definition and changing what we’re addressing, we’ll be capturing all of the polystyrene products that we normally see and are abused in the environment,” George said.

The revised ordinance changes the language of the ban from “expanded polystyrene” to “polystyrene foam” products (polystyrene is most commonly known as the branded product “Styrofoam”). The new term includes products such as food packaging, shipping materials, coolers, ice chests and beach toys.

Residents in Malibu will still be able to purchase polystyrene products from outside of the city and bring them back into the city, although the city hopes the ordinances will educate citizens on the effects polystyrene has on the environment.

“While we don’t want to prevent someone from buying chicken from their Costco, I think there are alternatives out there that can be used,” Peak said. “That’s only a matter of education.”

An education program could possibly roll out within the three months between the council’s vote Monday night and the ban’s effective date on Jan. 1, 2017.

“I see, primarily, a huge education program going on as a forerunner to anything — just to raise the consciousness of the whole idea,” Council Member Joan House said.

The ban will also prohibit individuals from bringing polystyrene products to city-owned parks or any beaches in the Malibu area. 

The council may use a warning system for the first year as locals become familiar with the new ordinance, but specifics were not clarified.