Crummer Opponents Silent as Council Approves Land Use

Have the once-vocal opponents to the five-home gated subdivision on the Crummer property finally thrown in the towel?

Seems unlikely, yet no one appeared during the Monday, Sept. 29 City Council meeting to voice opposition to Local Coastal Program (LCP) amendment and Zone Text Amendment (ZTA) that pave the way for the five-home development project.

In fact, with very little comment, council voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the changes, which were approved by the California Coastal Commission (CCC) in August of this year.

“It’s a quiet night, here,” City Attorney Christi Hogin remarked. “But it’s largely because we’ve already had our raucous hearings.”

Hearings, discussion, debate and negotiation over the development have occurred on and off since before Malibu was incorporated, according to the council’s recollection, but according to Hogin and various council members, negotiations to downgrade the scope of the project have made it one everyone should be able to agree on.

“Was it once 12 houses?” longtime Council Member Joan House asked Hogin.

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“Oh, it was more than that,” Hogin replied. “Twelve was a compromise at one point.”

“What I want to convey is … the city has been very strong and adamant about what we will have on that property,” House said. “We have held firm.”

The plans for the project currently i nclude five homes in a subdivision with a gatehouse, all between 15-18 feet high and set back from the bluffside. The deal struck by developer Robert Gold also includes a pledge of $4 million toward the State of California to be used for the development of a campground at Puerco Canyon and $1 million to the City of Malibu to be used for the development of recreational use at Bluffs Park. Gold’s 24-acre proposed subdivision will also cede nearly 1.75 acres of land to the city.

“What about our $4 million fee?” Council Member Skylar Peak joked.

Hogin reminded Peak of the benefits coming to the city.

“While we’re not getting $4 million, we are getting a beautiful piece of property to put to great use and a million dollars to make sure the kids have a chance to enjoy it,” Hogin said.

Jokes continued from Council Member Lou La Monte.

“I just wanted to mention that when Laura (Rosenthal) and I were first elected in 2010, the first major decision we had to make was this. And at that time, I think we were paying the Coastal Commission $5 million, we were getting bigger houses and we were gonna get a piece of land you can walk around,” La Monte said. “Five years later, we’re paying them $4 million, we’re getting a ballfield you can actually play on and the houses are smaller … So I’m tempted to actually wait another five years.”

“I think Robert (Gold) just fell out of his chair when you said that,” Rosenthal said.

Gold didn’t miss the opportunity to thank council for approving of the LCP amendment and land use amendment.

“This LCP amendment represents a collaboration between city staff, this community and its decision makers, including other stakeholders, including the Coastal Commission,” Gold said. “We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished and I would like to thank all those who have supported us throughout the years.”

Had council not approved the LCP amendment previously recommended by the CCC, and instead made any modifications whatsoever, the entire application process would have been restarted.

“If the council chooses to modify, in any respect, what the commission has conditionally certified, the council’s action would be treated as a resubmittal and the LCPA and ZTA process would resume as a new LCPA and ZTA,” the staff report for the council meeting read.

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