Water Board Deems Rancho Malibu Hotel Exempt from Civic Center Building Prohibition

A rendering of one of the casita-type structures envisioned in the proposed Rancho Malibu Hotel project. The project’s developer predicts the hotel will bring 300-400 jobs to Malibu, although there are traffic and noise concerns. 

In a revised report released by the LA Regional Water Quality Control Board, a project to build the Rancho Malibu Hotel at Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road was tentatively granted exemption from an ongoing development moratorium in Malibu’s Civic Center. 

Under the 2011 prohibition, landowners cannot build in the center of town until the city constructs a central wastewater treatment plan in the Civic Center. The prohibition put several big development projects on hold, including a Whole Foods in the Park retail center project. The city estimates the centralized sewer to be built sometime in 2016. 

Richard Weintraub’s 146-room Rancho Malibu hotel project was placed on the prohibition list by mistake, according to new county documents. The mixup was blamed on the City of Malibu omitting the hotel project from a list of developments originally submitted to the county. 

“The City of Malibu submitted a letter to the Regional Board explaining that the Rancho Malibu Hotel project had been ‘inadvertently overlooked’ and was ‘actually much farther along than other pipeline projects,’” according to the staff report. 

The Rancho Malibu Hotel project has yet to break ground and is currently undergoing an environmental review by city staff. The hotel project has been in the works since 1984, and includes plans for a 275,000-square-foot, 146-room hotel. The project and hotel could provide as many as 910 jobs, according to Weintraub. 

Clarification: A prior headline of this story stated the county deemed the hotel project exempt. The headline has been updated to reflect the finding was made by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. This article also incorrectly stated the La Paz project was subject of the prohibition.