Planning Commission Talks Shops

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Tramonto recently opened where Giovanni’s once stood. The restaurant offers a selection of pastas, pizzas and delivery. 

The Malibu Planning Commission Monday talked shop — or shops, to be correct — making decisions about several businesses and restaurants around town during its Aug. 3 meeting.

These decisions included a permit for a new formula retail store in the Civic Center, approving a previous direction to staff involving a liquor store near the intersection of Rambla Pacifico Street and Pacific Coast Highway, and a proposed expansion of Tramonto, a new Italian restaurant on PCH in Eastern Malibu. 

First formula retail store approved following Measure R

A new conditional use permit (CUP) was approved for Ted Baker, a UK-based formula retail clothing store, to operate in the Civic Center. Ted Baker is the first formula retail store to gain approval for a CUP following the Measure R ordinance.

Commissioners voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the new store, which will reportedly take the place of James Perse in the Malibu Country Mart.

City planners touted “localized features” of the store, including customized surfboards and limited items which will only be sold in the Malibu store in order to make it “unique and different.”

“The tenant is proposing these localized features to ensure that the store will promote the city’s small town community character,” Associate Planner Amanda Chiancola told commissioners.

The mention of the customized surfboards were especially impressive to the commissioners.

“Would it be illegal if I made a condition that I get one of the special surfboards?” Commissioner Mikke Pierson joked.

Commissioners were also impressed by the planning department’s handling of the new permit request following the Measure R ordinance, which places a cap on formula retail establishments throughout Malibu in an effort to preserve a small town feel.

“I think Amanda [Chiancola] did an outstanding job analyzing this particular project, especially since it’s the first one under Measure R,” Commissioner John Mazza said. “If we do all of them as thorough as this, we won’t have problems evaluating them.”

“I second that, it’s really very clear,” Chair David Brotman added.

Tramonto approved to begin outdoor dining

Tramonto, an Italian restaurant that opened this spring where Giovanni’s once operated on PCH, won approval from the Planning Commission on Monday to begin serving food and alcohol in its outdoor patio area, contingent on some adjustments to the parking area behind the restaurant.

With the additional dining area, city codes state there must be 16 legal parking spaces behind the restaurant. Currently, there are 15 legal spaces behind the eatery and two spaces that aren’t up to code. 

“[Two spaces] do not meet the minimum depth for a parking space,” Chiancola, who was also the associate planner assigned to this project, explained. “The site could have up to three compact spaces. 

“Twenty percent of the parking can be compact. The compact dimensions are eight feet by 15.5 feet, and as existing, [two of these spaces] are six inches short.”

In the end, Commissioners voted to extend the two smaller spaces and approve the request.

“I’d like to make a friendly amendment, and that is that they add the six inches that they have to those two spaces,” said Mazza.

“That’s a relatively minor change to make to the existing parking scheme, so they can probably make that work,” Planning Director Bonnie Blue replied.

The request was approved in a 4-0 vote by the Planning Commission, with Brotman abstaining.

Country Liquor store achieves final approval

The Planning Commission’s July 6 decision to approve longtime local liquor store Country Liquor to move its location an estimated 80 feet from next door to the Country Kitchen at PCH and Rambla Vista to the neighboring building closer to Rambla Pacifico Street, was ratified by commissioners Monday.

In July, Commissioners voted unanimously to grant the shop a new CUP to operate a couple doors down from the location where it had sold liquor under the same name since the ‘40s.

“The idea of moving it 60 or 80 feet — whatever it is — you have to start looking at what, if any, different impacts or effects it would have, and I don’t think there will be any,” Commissioner Jeff Jennings said at the July meeting. “I can’t come up with any impacts that would be different, so I can’t come up with a reason to deny the CUP.”

The final approval of the CUP came without comment on Monday, as part of the meeting’s consent calendar.