Tapping into the wellspring of support for wetlands restoration among City Council members, the developer of a large self-storage facility proposed for Cross Creek Road offered the city an easement over its land Monday to facilitate that restoration, in return for a density bonus for the self-storage project.
The self-storage facility, proposed for just north of Civic Center Way, was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission in May, but at a size smaller than that requested by the developer, Mariposa Land Company. The commission denied the larger project sought by Mariposa because it was dissatisfied with gifts the company offered the city in return for the requested density bonus. Under the zoning code, Mariposa is required to offer a public benefit to the city to win approval of the larger project, which at 56,366 square feet, would occupy a floor-area ratio of 20 percent.
In May, the company offered the Planning Commission a grant of $100,000 to help with the city’s acquisition of ball fields.
But in a change of strategy Monday, Mariposa’s Grant Adamson offered the City Council a new public benefit: an easement over the company’s adjacent property for a pipe that would carry water from Malibu Creek to a proposed man-made creek on Civic Center Way that would be built as part of a wetlands restoration project. There, the water would be cleaned and diverted back through a storm drain into Malibu Creek and Lagoon. In the event the easement is not needed, Adamson said, Mariposa would donate the $100,000, but this time for wetlands restoration, ball fields or the beautification of the median on PCH near the Civic Center.
Most members of the City Council warmly received the proposal, but questioned whether the width of the easement offered — five feet — would be large enough to hold the size of pipe needed for the cleansing action.
“I don’t think five feet is going to cut it,” said Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn Van Horn. But she said she was interested in the easement, adding, “I think we may be on the right track here.”
Councilman Tom Hasse said he, too, was pleased with new benefit Mariposa offered, but he needed more information on the size of the easement required.
“I’m happy this is the public benefit you’re offering to make the wetlands dream come true,” said Hasse.
The council members discussed a third alternative public benefit — a donation by Mariposa to the state parks department of approximately two acres along the banks of Malibu Creek to aid in the parks department’s restoration of Malibu Creek.
The council unanimously agreed to ask staff to get an approximate value of the two acres and to compare it with the value of the easement and the $100,000 gift of cash. The council plans to rule on the project at its first meeting in September.