Malibu roots for recreation

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It is a sea change of attitude: A majority of residents want the city to negotiate with large landowners on development.

An August telephone survey and the city’s second public workshop on a Parks Master Plan last Thursday show that land swaps, donations and grants, corporate partnership agreements, tax breaks, and “begging and pleading” are the means by which the City Council is expected to get more park and recreation facilities.

“Political maneuvering” and shared use, swapping Charmlee Natural Area for Bluffs Park, and approaching Hughes Research Laboratories and Pepperdine University were among the ideas to acquire land for acquisition.

Thursday’s workshop at the Michael Landon Center was not as well attended as the first workshop in August. Nevertheless, the eight tables of eight were crowded with younger families and parks and recreation activists.

As past Little League president Heather Beck, said, “There needs to be a focus around the family.” Standing with her son Keeva, 8, and daughter Zephyr, 5, Beck continued, “This community should give kids every opportunity for things to do, so they can blossom into the people they can be, and so there won’t be a repeat of Malibu High School.” A student brought a gun to campus Tuesday and it is suspected that a student used a campus phone for a bomb scare Thursday.

The city’s park consultant, Bob Takata, said the workshop was meant to add greater definition to parks plan draft objectives formulated from the telephone survey and first community workshop. Among the draft objectives are: building a recreation center with special consideration given to teen and senior programming, retaining Bluffs Park as an active recreation-oriented park and developing an active recreation-oriented park with multiple-purpose playing fields.

Among the most common facilities requested in both the telephone survey and workshops were baseball and softball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts, outdoor skateboarding, a gymnasium, tot parks, meeting rooms and an auditorium with a stage.

Thursday’s workshop included a question not previously asked: locations for the 10- 15-acre active recreation park with multipurpose fields. The most common answers were Bluffs Park, Trancas (the old area site and Trancas Town), Point Dume Mesa and Malibu High School surplus.

Councilman Tom Hasse, who serves on the city’s Land Use Subcommittee, which is negotiating with the Malibu Bay Company, said the city was running out of options to get the parks and recreation facilities. The General Plan was completed, and the Civic Center Specific Plan and a bond measure to purchase vacant land had been rejected, he said.

The telephone survey indicated 61.5 percent favored entering into development agreements with local large landowners to allow development in exchange for land and/or facilities and 45.5 percent favored using existing city revenues by cutting back on other expenditures, if necessary. Raising taxes was opposed by 51 percent of the respondents.