New restrictions on private celebratory activities approved by the City Council last week are not likely to crimp the style of Malibu’s party animals, as restrictions proposed by the Planning Commission had threatened to do in May.
That proposal, which caused many a local socialite’s heart to flutter, would have restricted residents to two parties per year when 50 or more guests are invited, and limited nonresidential facilities to four events per year when 100 or more guests are invited.
The council in May rejected that proposal as too strict and asked the staff to draw up a new set of recommendations. The city was responding to complaints from residents of Ramirez Canyon who are suffering from the numerous events and catered functions held at the Streisand Center for Conservancy Studies. A few other residents in town regularly rent out their homes for private parties.
The restrictions approved last week require residents to obtain a permit if they plan to charge an admission fee, rent out their home, charge for valet parking or shuttle services, or advertise the event. In those cases, residents are entitled to host four events per year in their home and nonresidential facilities are permitted six such events per year.
If guests are not assessed a fee, or if an event is not advertised, a permit is not required. Organizations such as the Malibu West Beach Club and La Costa Beach Club are exempt from the permitting requirements as well.
Council members sought to assure the public that the new restrictions do not apply to weddings and parties residents host in their home.
“This is not for your Brownie parties, your Cub Scouts, and we’re not talking about having your friends over,” said Councilwoman Joan House.
Councilman Harry Barovsky said the restrictions are only for the few groups that are abusing the system.
“We would not vote for an ordinance that would require you to come in for a permit to have a party,” said Barovsky.
Mayor Walt Keller suggested limiting fee events in homes to two per year, but the rest of the council, perhaps mindful of upcoming City Council and general election fund-raising parties, rejected his proposal.