Back to the drawing board for Malibu Bay Co. EIR

In the last Planning Commission meeting chaired by Ken Kearsley, a draft Environmental Impact Report for two projects in the Civic Center was discussed, a four-lot subdivision on Cavalleri Road owned by Everett Rollins was approved, and Mr. and Mrs. Howard Zarett’s application to build a 8,980-square-foot house on Winding Way was partially approved and partially denied.

The 370-page draft Environmental Impact Report prepared for the Malibu Bay Company, describing a 170,000-square-foot commercial project known as Malibu Village and a 60,000-square-foot office, retail, restaurant, and artist loft project known as Malibu Country Park, is inadequate and confusing, Malibu Bay Company’s consultant was told. If approved these projects could be replaced by a recent development agreement between Malibu Bay Company and a city ad hoc committee.

Malibu Village, which would be built on the 19.61-acre Chili Cook Off site, is bounded by Pacific Coast Highway, Webb Way, Civic Center Way and the Malibu Country Mart. It includes 30,000 square feet of existing development currently occupied by Malibu Lumber & Hardware, Malibu Animal Hospital and Coldwell Banker, all of which would be demolished and accommodated in the new project. The plan calls for rustic, ranch-style architecture, one- and two-story buildings with sloping roofs, linked by active and passive open space, pedestrian amenities and extensive landscaping.

Malibu Country Park, across Civic Center Way from the Malibu Village site, is planned for the 9.28-acre Ioki parcel. It would have similarly designed buildings, including garden offices, shops, food establishments and artist lofts.

“This is one of the worst EIRs I have ever read,” said Commissioner Jo Ruggles, an appointee of former Councilwoman Carolyn Van Horn, listing 16 items missing from the EIR and needed for a site-plan review alone. “Lots of basic information is not addressed. I don’t think we have a project yet. The EIR is premature.”

Interim Planning Director Henry Engen told commissioners City Biologist Marti Witter wanted better mapping of environmentally sensitive areas and greater response to lighting issues.

Commissioner Charleen Kabrin said she found the most problem with traffic. “We have seen with the car wash what happens when you have multiple-use parking,” she said. “Cars are there three to four hours.”

Ruggles also said the EIR did not address traffic issues, noting the cumulative impacts of traffic expected from the Adamson Hotel, expansions of Pepperdine and Soka universities, and the Getty Villa.

The report will go back to the city’s Environmental Review Board and is expected back before the commission in 60 days, said Senior Planner Drew Purvis.

By that time, the composition of the commission may be different, since City Councilmen-elect Kearsley and Jeff Jennings may have appointed new commissioners to replace Ruggles and Andrew Stern, an appointee of former Councilman Walt Keller.

If the proposed long-term development deal between the city and Malibu Bay Company wins approval of the City Council before the two projects are approved by the Planning Commission, the issue would be moot, because the development deal includes a 10-year moratorium on the Chili Cook-off site.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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