Clearing of Trancas and Sea Lily nursery properties bittersweet

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Tenants at the Trancas Market shopping center have been moved into temporary locations while renovations are made to their spaces. Trancas Canyon Nursery is operating out of temporary trailers. Most of the tenants expect to move in within 4-6 weeks, while the nursery and Sea Lily flower shop target late summer as the date to move into their permanent locations. 

The clearing of the outdoor space that housed Trancas Canyon Nursery for 28 years and Sea Lily Malibu for the last several got underway at the beginning of last week with the removal of the two shops’ plants, a pond full of koi fish and a minor menagerie of farm animals. Nursery co-owner Debbi Stone said the move was bittersweet but necessary. 

“I do think a lot of our customers who loved our property, it was very pretty, it was a very secret garden, and a lot of our customers are very upset that the whole thing is being bulldozed,” Stone said. “But who knows how long it would have taken if they had had to work around us. So it seemed like the best solution.” 

Stone said the original plan was to remain in their previous buildings. But that would have meant the nursery having to operate with ongoing construction for a prolonged period of time. 

“I guess under the building code they have to grade the property. Our buildings were not up to code,” Stone said. “That being the case, the quickest way to do that was to completely move off the property.” 

It was reported that between four and seven non-native trees currently on the site would be removed during grading, including a coral tree, a fikus and a curly willow. 

When reached by telephone on Monday, construction manager Scott Rozier said he was not aware any trees would be removed. 

“There’s really no clearing, we have to take a tiny bit of dirt out but we’re not clearing any trees I don’t believe,” Rozier said. 

Still, others were under the impression the trees were to be removed. The trees were still standing as The Malibu Times went to press. A grove of native sycamores at the back of the shopping center is protected by law and will not be touched. 

Stone said she had to relocate the nursery’s cat, Pouncer, for the next 4-5 months to a friend’s house. Two ducks, one rooster, three chickens and 13 white homing pigeons will reside at a ranch in Encinal Canyon until the nursery moves into its new digs. Another friend, attorney Bruce Dunn, has taken responsibility for the displaced koi fish. 

While she isn’t sure what the property will look like when the construction is finished, Stone said the animals would be back, complete with a koi pond. 

“Yes, we do plan to have a pond again, it was a big deal for the kids to come and feed the fish,” Stone said. 

Easement agreement reached 

Rozier said the owners of the shopping center had reached an agreement with Malibu West homeowners on an emergency access easement after months of prolonged negotiations. 

“It’s completed, it’s done, it’s signed upon,” Rozier said. 

The easement will serve as a second escape route to Pacific Coast Highway for the neighborhood in the event Trancas Canyon Road becomes obstructed during a wildfire or another natural disaster. The easement goes around the employee parking lot and the Chevron gas station, which are across Trancas Canyon Road from the main shopping center. 

The property owners are still negotiating with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transpor tation Authority (Metro) on a bus turnaround at the shopping center. The area has marked the end of the Metro’s PCH line for many years. 

“For now buses are turning around in the employee parking lot, but that’s still being negotiated,” Rozier said.