News Briefs

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City Council rejects permit expediter’s request

Developer Norm Haynie was unable to influence the council on Monday to support a new hearing for the proposed 9,200-square-foot Ramirez Canyon home. During what was supposed to be a formality to finalize the council’s rejection of the project from a meeting last month, the permit expediter asked for a new hearing, saying the project was mostly rejected because of last minute information that had come up at that meeting. Haynie could only garner the support of Mayor Jeff Jennings.

“If the last hearing went your way, you wouldn’t want another hearing,” Councilmember Andy Stern said.

The application for the home had been approved by the Planning Commission, but was rejected by the council for several reasons, including information that came to light at the meeting last month that there had been illegal grading of the property.

Also on Monday, the council approved the city’s taking ownership of a parcel of land off Broad Beach near Pacific Coast Highway and Trancas Canyon Road. The county, which had previously owned the land, had said it believed the property should have gone to the city when Malibu became a municipality in 1991.

A meeting will take place with city officials and nearby property owners on what to do with the property, which will cost an estimated $25,000 per year to maintain. Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Conley Ulich suggested it could be used to build a coffee stand or a place to sell gelato. She said bicyclists would enjoy that, and it would be a money-making opportunity. Councilmember Andy Stern did not share her enthusiasm.

“I’m utterly opposed to that,” Stern said. “I think to commercialize that property is a terrible idea.”

Additionally, Jennings said he had heard about an indoor soccer facility that was for sale. He said the facility, which he said was about the size of two swimming pools, should be investigated as a possible purchase for the city. He added that the city should look into putting the facility on school district land.

Updated viewshed law proposal set for Planning review

The Planning Commission on Tuesday will take a look at a new version of a proposed law dealing with viewshed issues in Malibu Country Estates. The commission reviewed a proposal in October, and asked city staff to work with the neighborhood board to work further on the matter. The commission is only being asked to make a recommendation to the City Council, which will consider the measure.

Creating viewshed laws has always been a controversial issue in Malibu. City leaders have been hesitant to approve them because of the ambiguity a law may create, and the possible litigation it can open up for the city. The Malibu Country Estates law would be a test for the city, and it could possibly lead to a citywide law in the future.

Also at the meeting, the commission will consider an application to transform a 10-unit apartment at the 22600 block of Pacific Coast Highway into condominiums.

Former Pepperdine professor pleads not guilty to sex charges

Markus McDowell, who taught religion at Pepperdine University as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer from 1996 to 2005, pleaded not guilty in Ventura County Superior Court on Friday to several child sex charges. His bail was also raised from $50,000 to $120,000. He posted the bail and was forced to surrender his passport.

McDowell is accused of molesting and sexually assaulting three girls from 1991 to 1999 beginning when they were 13 and 14 years old. According to Ventura County Sheriff’s investigators, McDowell met the girls through Camarillo Church of Christ, where he served as the youth minister. Investigators said they believe there could be more victims.

Blood donors needed

California’s blood supply has plunged to dangerously low levels, according to the American Red Cross Blood Services. At a news conference on Monday, July 9, officials with the American Red Cross, the Hospital Association of Southern California, and the California Emergency Medical Services Authority appealed to Southern California residents to donate blood for local hospital patients.

The American Red Cross cited several factors as contributing to the blood shortage. The demand for blood in Southern California has increased in past years because of a growing population, an aging population requiring more medical care, and increasingly sophisticated medical procedures that improve health care but also require blood transfusions. Meanwhile, blood donations routinely drop during the summer months.

Although approximately 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, less than 3 percent of Southern Californians actually do so. The American Red Cross imports about 40 percent of the local blood supply from Northern California and other parts of the nation.

Any healthy person age 17 or older and weighing at least 110 pounds may be able to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, potential donors should call 800.GIVE.LIFE or go to www.GiveLife.org.

-Jonathan Friedman