In his appeal filed with the Malibu City Council, longtime Zumirez Drive resident Eric Jacobson claims his neighbors — Barbra Streisand and James Brolin — used false or misleading data to secure approval of the Planning Commission for their new home. Jacobson contended, in his Oct. 25 papers, Streisand’s representatives gave inaccurate assurances that the planned blufftop home on Point Dume met the “two-thirds rule” for a residence with an elevation in excess of 18 feet. The rule requires that the second story be no more than two-thirds the square footage of the ground floor.
Describing Point Dume and Zumirez Drive as a unique and distinct neighborhood, Jacobson noted the 41 property owners have a deeded ownership in the beach. He warned the effort of planning officials to divorce the Streisand property from its environs is “an absurd and transparent effort to justify greater height, bulk and square footage than would normally be allowed” for the neighborhood.
Taking the square footage of homes within 500 feet of the Streisand proposal, Jacobson said the entertainer’s home would be 400 percent of the average, which now stands at 2584 square feet per acre. He concluded city staffers have ignored Malibu’s general plan and its commitment to discourage “mansionization.”
Jacobson’s appeal also scored the Planning Commission for dropping conditions set by the Environmental Review Board that would have lumped the 4,426-square-foot basement in the total square footage allowed on the site. The condition was linked to creation of a setback from coastal scrub, designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area.
The appeal warned that a basement of this size so near the bluff creates an unnecessary risk to fellow homeowners as members of the beach association. “The fact that water is now running year around from the base of these bluffs should alert us,” said Jacobson, “that it is unreasonable to increase the density of allowed development. Any approval of this basement should be contingent on the applicant’s providing a surety bond in favor of the city of Malibu and Malibu Riviera One property owners.”
Jacobson told The Malibu Times Streisand is attempting to “push the envelope” to secure too large a building on what is already the smallest lot on the street. He accused the city staff of selectively choosing beachfront areas with larger homes as a way to achieve a result. Such a mammoth structure will give “a destabilizing effect to the bluff,” he said.
On the two-thirds rule, Jacobson said if the information furnished the Planning Commission is found to be false and misleading, he will request that the costs of his appeal be refunded. So far, the fees for filing an appeal are up to $2,000, he said.
Ron Goldman, the architect who drew up the original plans for the house but is no longer part of the project, told The Malibu Times the house initially complied with the two-thirds rule, but that the current architect has made changes to the second floor which may have taken it out of compliance. He asserted a city staffer misspoke in explaining the rule at the Oct. 18 hearing and failed to acknowledge that a structure in excess of 18 feet but comprising a single room from floor to ceiling will nonetheless be counted as two stories. The rule, he said, is designed to achieve a modulation of the roof line and to reduce the mass of the house.