Council considers outdoor smoking ban

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In other action, the council extends the contracts of the advisor and the ad hoc committee working on a view protection ordinance.

By Olivia Damavandi / Staff Writer

City Council members had their hands full at its Monday night meeting, during which they discussed at length the prohibition of smoking in pubic outdoor areas and updates on the View Protection Task Force.

The council also directed staff to draft an ordinance that would prohibit smoking in outdoor dining areas and at outdoor public events, but provide outposts where smoking would be permitted.

The ordinance is headed by Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who asked UCLA professor of public health William McCarthy and two members from the Center of Tobacco Policy and the American Lung Association to speak about the negative effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke.

McCarthy, a longtime Malibu resident, said a measurable decrease in lung cancer rates, particularly in California, have been noted in places that have adopted ordinances banning smoking and that the majority of the population will benefit from adopting the ordinance.

Residents voiced their support for the ordinance not only for its health benefits, but for environmental ones as well.

“The Pepperdine fire happened from someone allegedly throwing a cigarette butt out of their car,” Marshall Thompson said. “It’s obnoxious, and it’s a public health issue.”

One of the biggest concerns of council members was how the city would enforce the public outdoor smoking ban.

Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Barovsky said that a lack of enforcement is an invitation for people to break the law, while Councilmember John Sibert brought up the necessity of evaluating the enforcement costs.

The council will continue its work on the drafting of the ordinance and take into consideration enforcement strategies of other cities, such as Glendale, which has implemented a similar ban.

Residents promote Palos Verdes ordinance

The meeting was packed with residents and all 13 members of the View Protection Task Force, who showed up to express concern about how ocean and mountain views have been compromised by the growth of vegetation, and to offer insight on the creation of a citywide view protection ordinance.

The View Protection Task Force Committee was created last year after more than 60 percent of Malibu residents voted in the April election for the council to adopt a view ordinance to protect primary views from property landscaping. The task force then created an ad hoc committee to meet with Colleen Bergs, an advisor hired by the city, to more clearly define its goals.

In response to residents’ opposite views over whether a view or privacy was more important, and their concerns about how the city would enforce a view protection ordinance, the council directed staff to bring back an item to extend Bergs’ contract for three more month’s, and extended the life of the ad hoc committee for three more months as well.

Some residents think the City of Malibu should implement the Palos Verdes View Restoration ordinance, which defines the “viewing area” of an applicant’s property as where the best and most important view is taken. The determination of the “viewing area” is made by balancing the nature of the view to be protected with the importance of the area of the structure or lot from where the view is taken. In the event the city and owner cannot agree on the viewing area, the city’s determination shall prevail.

Others say the Palos Verdes View Restoration ordinance is not fitting for Malibu because many Malibu residents have mountain views, and the ordinance does not include vacant land that is developable under city code, distant mountain areas not normally visible, or the sky, either above distant mountain areas or above the height of offshore islands.