City explores new site for baseball fields

The City Council voted unanimously last Thursday to continue talks with Roy Crummer for the donation of six acres of land next to the existing ballfields at Bluffs Park. In exchange for the land, Crummer reportedly seeks approval to build eight homes on the remainder of the 24-acre site.

Crummer had earlier proposed a 150-room hotel for the site, but that would have required a change to commercial zoning. The land is currently zoned RR-2, or one home for every two acres.

In announcing to the City Council negotiations might be fruitful, Councilman Harry Barovsky said he had met informally with Crummer, along with City Manager Harry Peacock.

The site has sufficient flat ground for two baseball fields, one soccer field and parking. Securing the donation of the six acres to replace the fields that currently exist on state-owned land were a “golden opportunity” to accomplish the impossible, Barovsky said.

Agreement with the city does not necessarily guarantee the project will get off the drawing board. Even with the city’s blessing, Crummer might not be able to secure approval of the California Coastal Commission. The headlands are designated by State Parks as a preserve. The site includes a stand of coreopsis, a yellow wildflower, and therefore the site could be regarded as an environmentally sensitive habitat.

Crummer and his family were the original owners of much of the undeveloped land in Malibu. Crummer, one of five sons, was raised in Malibu and remained here for many years to maintain and develop his family’s holdings. His magnum opus was the roughly 100,000-square-foot Malibu Colony Plaza Shopping Center, where Ralphs Market now stands .

Later, the Crummer Malibu interests were sold en masse to the Malibu Bay Company, which was a partnership of two families, the Konheims and the Perenchios, who each have extensive real estate holdings.

There were a few Crummer holdings that were not sold in the Konheim/Perenchio deal. Among them was a 24-acre parcel adjacent to Bluffs Park, which has been fenced off for the last few years.

It was reported the Coastal Commission was very opposed to that land being used for residential purposes because it is designated as visitor serving. However when Rusty Areias, director of California Parks and Recreation, was recently in Malibu, someone suggested a deal with Crummer to obtain some additional land for ballfields if the Coastal Commission was willing to let the remainder of the Crummer parcel be used for residential purposes. Because the state wants Bluffs Park back , several state officials indicated they would certainly be agreeable to taking a look at the situation, and perhaps there could be a swap.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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