Nudist resort coming to town–maybe


If all goes as planned, Elysium Fields, the clothing-optional resort that has resided in Topanga Canyon for 32 years, will be moving to Malibu the last week of September.

The purchase of the new site has been in escrow since late July.

Members of Elysium have been tight-lipped about the exact location of the new site and who the purchasers are because of concerns about the deal falling through.

However, sources say that several original Elysium members have pooled together a group of investors to purchase the site at the cost of $1.3 million and it is located in the Santa Monica Mountains off Mulholland Highway somewhere between Decker Canyon Road and Westlake Boulevard.

Betty Meltzer, managing director of Elysium and a longtime member, said they have been working on getting conditional-use permits to operate the resort. She has declined to comment further on the purchase until the close of escrow, which has been extended week by week since the end of August.

Despite that, since July, Elysium has posted a note on their Web site letting members know about the deal in escrow and upcoming moving dates, one longtime member said he thought the resort was closing and was not aware of a move to a new location.

The Web site describes the new location as being west of the current Topanga location, in the Santa Monica Mountains, with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Elysium’s Board of Directors has been said to be confident “it is a good fit with the Board’s educational vision and the member’s recreational needs.”

However, there are some who would prefer not to have a “nudist” resort in their neighborhood.

A local woman, who declined to use her name, said she did not want the resort at the new location because she thinks it would bring down property values.

“I don’t like anything like that in the neighborhood,” she said.

This would not be the first time disapproval for the resort has been expressed. Elysium went through lengthy court battles to maintain operations at their current location, with the case ending up in the state Court of Appeals. In 1993 the resort was allowed to remain operating in Topanga Canyon with a conditional-use permit issued by the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission.

The impetus for the move is the sale of the Topanga property by the daughters of Elysium’s founder, Ed Lange.

The resort offers activities ranging from workshops on yoga to sports activities and other social events, and is very recognizable, as far as outreach, said Meltzer, having members from all over the world.