News Briefs

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SMMC accepting comments on draft EIR

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and its sister organization, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, has released its draft environmental impact report for the proposed Malibu Parks Public Access Enhancement Plan.

Written comments from the public will be accepted through March 22 at 5 p.m.

The plan, long opposed by numerous Malibu residents who say it increases the risk of fires, will create overnight camping sites at Bluffs Park and Latigo, Ramirez, Escondido and Corral canyon parks; a total of 183 parking spaces within those five parks; and improvements to local trails to create the Coastal Slope Trail that will connect the east and west ends of Malibu. All five parks targeted for overnight camping have, in recent years, been burned or threatened by a wildfire. Though the proposed plan would prohibit campfires, residents doubt the extent to which that rule would be enforced.

The draft EIR is available on the SMMC’s Web site (www.smmc.ca.gov) and the MRCA’s Web site (www.mrca.ca.gov), as well as on the City of Malibu’s Web site (www.ci.malibu.ca.us) and at the Malibu Library.

Comments can be submitted via email to EIRcomments@smmc.ca.gov or mailed to: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Attn: Ms. Judi Tamasi, 5750 Ramirez Canyon Rd., Malibu, CA 90265.

The final EIR will include all comments received, along with the SMMC’s and MRCA’s response to those comments.

Woman killed on PCH

Amelia Ordona, 74, was struck and killed by a vehicle as she was crossing Pacific Coast Highway to get to her bus stop early this morning. A companion, Amparo Pabalan, 67, suffered minor injuries, according to a press release from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. Several more vehicles struck Ordona after the impact of the first vehicle catapulted her into oncoming traffic. Some drivers may have kept going, unaware that they struck a person.

Both Ordona and Pabalan were listed by the station’s report as having addresses in the Westlake area of Los Angeles.

The two had just left their place of employment as caregivers to a Malibu resident on the north side of Pacific Coast Highway at 6:25 a.m. They were walking to their bus stop located on the south side of PCH at Paradise Cove. For unknown reasons they decided to cross the highway mid-block at Winding Way. A driver traveling west on PCH in a 2006 Honda Accord struck Ordona, who was killed on impact. The impact catapulted her into the eastbound lanes, where several more vehicles struck her. The driver of the Honda, according to the Sheriff’s report, did not see Ordona in the road because of the lighting, dark clothing she was wearing and the roadway conditions.

Pabalan was transported to Santa Monica Hospital. Her injuries were not considered serious.

The Malibu/Lost Hills Station is requesting anyone who witnessed the accident or unknowingly struck Ordona in the eastbound lanes to contact Traffic Investigator Barnard at 818.878.5559.

Teens injured after vehicle plummets down Malibu Canyon

Two teenagers were hospitalized Saturday after their vehicle plummeted about 150 feet down Malibu Canyon Road, Sheriff’s deputies said in a report.

The “vehicle over the side” was reported at 10:28 a.m. on Malibu Canyon Road near Piuma Road, Lt. Rich Erickson of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station said in the report.

A black 2008 Dodge Charger veered off the road and went about 150 feet down the canyon, landing upside down in a stream below, Erickson said.

The victims, identified as 19-year-old Nicole Hertensen of Canyon Country and Zachary Gregg, 19, of Saugus, were initially trapped in the vehicle, but were freed within 50 minutes, Erickson said.

Traffic was closed to the public for nearly three hours.

Hertensen and Gregg were both taken to UCLA Medical Center in unknown condition.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Malibu Business and Shipping Center to relocate

Malibu Business and Shipping Center will relocate from its current location in the Malibu Colony Plaza to the space that used to house Malibu Computers at 22627 Pacific Coast Highway.

MBSC Manager/CEO Nereida J. Heath on Tuesday said the grand opening at the new location is slated for May 3. The lease can be renewed after five years.

“Unless we [relocated], we would have gone out of business,” Heath said Tuesday in a phone interview.

The monthly cost of rent (including maintenance fees and taxes) for MBSC jumped from approximately $14,000 in 2002 (when the business was called Mailboxes, Etc. under different ownership), to about $22,000 in January, Heath said in a previous interview.

Unable to afford the heightened rent, Heath said she had aimed to relocate the business to a vacant portion of a city-owned building located at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Webb Way. However, the rent would have still been too expensive, she said.

Council to discuss temporary light standards

Malibu City Council will hold a public hearing March 22 to consider amendments to the Local Coastal Program and Malibu Municipal Code regarding temporary light standards at public high schools.

The Planning Commission in January voted to recommend temporary lights be used at Malibu High School’s main athletic field 16 nights per year. The recommendation will be forwarded to the city council and later to the California Coastal Commission. Both bodies must support the recommendation for it to become law.

The Coastal Commission last fall rejected the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s request to use temporary lights 16 nights per year because the city’s Local Coastal Program does not allow it. The Planning Commission’s recommendation is to amend the LCP to permit the lights.

Missing woman’s father files claim against county

The father of a woman missing for six months since being released from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station filed a claim for damages Tuesday against Los Angeles County, alleging that deputies were negligent in their care of her, a Los Angeles Times report states.

Michael Richardson’s claim alleges that deputies “failed to respond reasonably to a suspect who exhibited signs of mental illness.” The document is similar to one filed two months ago by Latice Sutton, the mother of 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson.

The night Mitrice Richardson was arrested at a Malibu restaurant for not paying her bill, patrons and staffers at Geoffrey’s described her actions as bizarre. Since her disappearance, police detectives discovered evidence that she was suffering from severe bipolar disorder.

Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have maintained that they released Richardson in a timely manner at 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2009. They said they told her she could stay at the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff’s station as long as she needed.

By Olivia Damavandi and Laura Tate