Planning commission moves forward


An visibly unhappy Planning Commissioner, Charleen Kabrin, quickly walked out of Monday’s planning meeting apparently upset over the commission approval of a zoning map and general plan amendment, as well as a tentative parcel map for a two-lot subdivision on Winding Way.

The applicant had requested approvals to subdivide one 11.7-acre parcel into two separate parcels for two future single-family residences.

This property was originally part of a 140-acre parcel in Escondido Canyon of which 128.3 acres are now parkland.

After the owner originally obtained the title to the 140-acre unimproved property, the property was assessed $750,000 to pay for street and water improvements. After Malibu became a city, the zoning of the property was changed from 23 home sites, equaling one house per five acres, to allow only five single-family homes.

The owner sued in 1996, alleging that the city’s action deprived them of the benefits of the improvements for which they paid.

In 1997, a tentative settlement was reached between the City Council and the landowners. It specified that the owner, Blank Par-E, could subdivide the subject 11.7 acres it still owns into two, 5-acre home sites, which would allow for the development of one 7,000 square foot, single-story home on each lot.

This project came in front of the planning commission because it required an amendment to the city’s general plan and zoning map. The staff recommended that the commission forward the project to the City Council for their action of approval.

Initially, the zoning amendment concerned some commissioners, because they did not want to set a trend for future developers. The current general plan and zoning designations for this parcel are rural residential (RR-20), which allow for one dwelling per 20 acres.

Therefore, the proposal was to amend the general plan and zoning map to RR-5 to accommodate this project.

Planning Commissioner Richard Carrigan asked if this project would influence the future terms of events and encourage a down-zoning trend, to which Planning Director Hogan said, “This is particular to the facts of this case since this was a settlement.” But, there is no guarantee that some people won’t request some in the future, said Hogan.

Kabrin was concerned about the environmental impacts.

“There are a lot of biological concerns,” she said, stating that she was not opposed to the project, but wished for a continuance because this issue was not clarified in the plans.

All the while, representatives for the applicants were restless in their seats, waiting for their turn to speak. Blank Par-E’s attorney came to the podium and was very brief.

“I think we’ve really gone astray here,” he said.

The court has endorsed the settlement because they like the idea of an agreement being reached with the city government, he said.

Another representative said that the city biologist’s conditions have been integrated. They worked with forestry, eliminating a large irrigation zone to avoid impact on the native vegetation, she said.

They also stated that they intend to build the houses with a design that will blend with the natural environment.

After debating some more, the commission agreed, except for one member. Kabrin moved for a continuance but the motion failed.

“This is consistent with the general plan,” said Chair Ed Lipnick, who moved to approve.

The commission voted to approve the project with the condition that items be corrected regarding the tentative parcel map so that the information can be given back to the commission for clarity’s sake.

Storage sheds disallowed

The commission denied a request for two storage sheds within the side-yard setback of a home in Point Dume.

The owner had asked for a variance of the side-yard setback guidelines, which currently require an 11-foot setback.

Don Schmidt came to the meeting to represent the property owner, who was said to have constructed two storage sheds without permits.

Schmidt said that one of the sheds was already on the property when the current owners purchased it approximately seven years ago, adding that shed is not visible from the street.

The second shed is a pre-manufactured one and the owner did not believe that a permit was required, said Schmidt, who passed on apologies to the commission on behalf of the owner.

“Granting a variance will not provide special privilege,” he said, “since there are many more like it.”

He emphasized that sheds give better sightlines than having bikes and surfboards out in the open, and that it is a typical feature found with single-family homes.

However, the commission was concerned about the side-yard set back issues. They said that the current set back guidelines are to ensure that properties will not develop too close from one another to preserve view sheds.