After a two-year struggle through the city of Malibu’s planning process, Isaac Shachory was given the nod of approval to build a self-storage facility near the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Kanan Road. The Planning Commission voted 5-0 in favor of the project at a public hearing Monday.
Neighbors asked the commission to stop the project, citing issues of traffic and safety. Some said they would rather see the lot used for a restaurant or a small apartment complex.
Diane Farad told commissioners her concerns for the self-storage project. “They’re used for all kinds of illegal activity and all kinds of illegal things are stored in them,” she said.
“This is not appropriate on Pacific Coast Highway,” said Brian Holmes. “You’re going to have U-turns all over PCH with trucks and trailers.”
“The intersection of PCH and Kanan is a deathtrap,” said resident Victor Stevens, who said the intersection could not accommodate traffic from a storage facility there. “There is no safe way.”
“I want to thank the opponents for inadvertently making our case for us tonight,” said project consultant Don Schmitz, who pointed out that a storage facility would generate less traffic than other commercial businesses. Mini-storage is “at the very bottom, below a single-family residence,” he said. Schmitz pointed out that other businesses, such as restaurants, would require septic systems and rest room facilities. Also, he said, “The self-storage facility will generate less noise by far than any other type of use you would see there.”
“What are all the people here worried about? It’s beyond me,” Shachory said. “Mini-storage does not cause any traffic or noise or pollute the air.”
“I’m really sorry to see this turn into a fight,” said Commissioner Jo Ruggles. “I was surprised you guys weren’t happy,” she told opponents. Ruggles pointed out that the decibel level was too high at that intersection to allow residential development, and she said the residents would probably prefer the storage facility to another project that was proposed for the location, a 24-hour Jack-in-the-Box. “I think it’s very appropriate. I think the residents will probably like it at the end.”
Ruggles also pointed out that illegal activity can happen anywhere. “We just found bomb material in a residence in Malibu,” she said.
“We’re not going to have homeless people sleeping in there,” agreed Commissioner Ed Lipnick, who said that neighbors should call the police in the case of any illegal activity.
“I think the applicant’s met not just the letter of the law but the spirit of the law,” said Commissioner Andrew Stern. “He’s not asking for any sort of variance. He’s come before us with an allowed use.” Stern added, “It does by far and away have the least amount of traffic.”
The commission made two modifications to the proposal before giving its approval. The facility must have an earth-tone roof, instead of the proposed red tile, and security lighting must be triggered by motion sensors to help keep bright lights from disturbing the neighbors. The neighbors have 10 days in which to appeal the commission’s decision to the City Council.