Letter: Malibu view preservation fee is out of sight

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Testimony gathered by the city appointed task force on view preservation and personal experiences clearly indicate that many of the egregious situations involving views plaguing residents could have been avoided if the city had conscientiously enforced its existing zoning and building codes.

But this abdication by staff unfortunately was tolerated by succeeding city councils intimidated by deep pocket property owners and their wired consultants. It was this unsavory alliance I feel that subverted the original city referendum urging view protection and the subsequent citizen proposed ordinance.

In its place the City Council passed the present convoluted View Protection program that places prime responsibility on property owners suffering from the city’s past indifference and incompetence. Still, the program at least recognizes the problem, and would have been a gesture by the heretofore reluctant city council that perhaps in time would lead to an equitable solution for plagued property owners—if the city didn’t tack on a $271 fee for processing.

This fee is for work city employees will be doing on city time, and was not, incidentally, imposed in the past when documenting appeals concerning views, as in my case. This arbitrary imposition I fear has discouraged residents from participation.

Clearly, the fees should be waived, and if paid the monies returned, the applications period extended, and the city staff reminded for whom it works. The application period now closed also should be open ended; offending foliage doesn’t stop growing, making view protection a continuing concern, both preservation and restoration.

Sam Hall Kaplan, Past chair, View Restoration and Preservation Task Force