The Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy, headed by Gil Segel and including many from the No-Growth side of the Malibu Slow-Growth Movement, served notice Saturday night that despite Segel’s battle with the state Fair Political Practices Commission, the organization was not giving up without a fight. The conservancy’s stated goal is to get much of Malibu’s remaining undeveloped land into trust hands. That land includes much of the Civic Center area, particularly the Chili Cook-off site, the area around Trancas and the Trancas market, the property along Pacific Coast Highway in the Point Dume area between Heathercliff and Portshead, the Crummer property alongside Bluffs Park and shoreline property along LeChuza beach.
As part of that acquisition plan, the trust held a fund-raiser at the Adamson house. A 250-plus turnout raised more than $250,000, according to Segel, which, for any Malibu charity, is a sizable amount. The cash needed to buy some of the Malibu land, however, may run into the millions, according to rough valuations by local Realtors. It is reported that Malibu Bay Co. holdings alone total almost $76 million.
Nevertheless, the trust seems undaunted by the size of the task, and the organization formed a year ago as a nonprofit, public benefit corporation dedicated to the preservation of open space and environmentally sensitive land in Malibu. Its Board of Directors consists of Segel, Treasurer Ozzie Silna, Secretary Marcia Hanscom (executive director of the Wetlands Action Network) and Frank Angel, Graeme Clifford, Betty Hayman, Cara Fox, Norma Levy, Remy O’Neill, Bob Purvey and Leo Ziffren.
“I got to experience in my heart the beauty that is Malibu,” said Segel in welcoming remarks at the fund-raiser. “Our responsibility is to preserve the beauty and to have parks for us and our children.”
The conservancy wants to acquire property from sellers at fair prices, he said. In a post-party interview with The Malibu Times, Segel said appraisals are planned.
The conservancy’s Internet site, www.coastalland.com, says the immediate goal is “citizen action to work toward public acquisition of the entire Malibu Wetland, and to educate everyone on the important link between wetlands and cleaner coastal waters.”
The conservancy’s brochure says the conservancy, among other things, wants to receive gifts of land, secure and maintain conservation easements, work with local government to secure land for community recreational needs, and seek grants for purchase, management and restoration of open space.
The $250,000 raised is to be used for full-time administration, Segel said in the interview. “This gives us the crucial seed money to administer our plans for acquiring land. It also reinforces the awareness of the federal, state and private institutions and individuals that this is a serious and supported endeavor.”
To some extent, the conservancy goals parallel those of the City Council, which is negotiating land use and development agreements with local property owners. The lease with Jack Schultz for the recently opened “Papa Jack’s” Skateboard Park in the Civic Center is one example; another is the $150,000 flood mitigation grant the city received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in July. According to David Fukutomi, FEMA’s public education representative, who was at the fund-raiser, the grant is a stepping stone to acquiring wetlands with government money. Part of the money would be used as a consulting fee in applying for the additional monies, Segel said in the interview.
City Council Members Tom Hasse and Joan House, serving on the ad hoc committee negotiating land use agreements with property owners, said at the party they wish the agency success. “I would love to see these properties preserved,” Hasse said, noting that some development applications would shortly be heard by the Planning Commission. “The ad hoc committee is pursing the legal, practical way to achieve as much as we possibly can. If the conservancy can raise enough money in time, it’s for the benefit of all.”