Beachfront Development Under Review

Malibu City Hall

After more than 10 years in limbo, a zoning text amendment to define development standards for beachfront and non-beachfront lots is moving forward, following Monday’s Malibu City Council meeting.

Currently, beachfront lots are “exempt from limits on total development square footage and impermeable coverage, and do not require a site plan review approval for height over 18 feet,” according to a city staff report.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that neither Malibu Municipal Code nor the Local Coastal Program defines exactly what constitutes a beachfront lot or a non-beachfront lot.

City Council Member John Sibert pointed to what he described as the “extreme complexity” of the current situation, when the proposed amendment was discussed at the Oct. 24 Malibu City Council meeting.

“It would be nice if we could say it simply, so everyone can understand it,” he said.

Planning Director Bonnie Blue outlined some of the complications.

“The issue with rural residential lots that touch the sand is if you applied the beachfront standard to them, you could end up with unlimited TDSF [total development square footage],” she said.

During public comment, development consultant Norm Haynie pointed out the difficulty in determining where the beachfront lot ends and the beach begins.

“I really think we should focus not on zoning but where the building site is located,” Haynie suggested.

The city has wrestled with the definition of “beachfront” since 2005, when city council asked the planning commission to consider a definition for “beachfront lot.”

In 2006, the planning commission recommended the following definition: “Any parcel of land that meets the following criteria: (1) One of the exterior boundary lines of the subject site is the Pacific Ocean or a mean high tide line of the Pacific Ocean; and (2) The property is not designated on the official Zoning Map as Rural Residential.

At that point, the process appears to have stalled. The present city council voted unanimously to direct staff to once again prepare draft amendments. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in when the planning commission hears the item at a later date.


Road maintenance

Ongoing maintenance construction on Malibu roads is set to continue into 2018.

City council reviewed and approved the city’s updated five-year Pavement Management Plan.

Malibu Public Works Director Bob Brager informed the council the city’s 45 miles of roads are currently in good condition and the plan, which sets a repaving schedule, is intended to maintain that level throughout the city.

According to Brager, the 2016-17 schedule includes major repaving on Rainsford Place, Guernsey Avenue and Baden Place, and minor repairs to Sea Level Drive, Bailard Road, Trancas Canyon Road, Harvester Road, Floris Heights, Merritt Drive, Bonsall Drive and Birdview Avenue.

In 2017-18, the focus shifts to eastern Malibu, with major overhauls planned for Rambla Vista, and minor repairs scheduled for Carbon Canyon Road, Rambla Pacifico Street, Las Flores Mesa Drive, Big Rock Drive and Seaboard Road. The city’s annual cost for the pavement plan is $650,000.


Pavley recognized

State Senator Fran Pavley, who has spent 14 years in the Legislature and is retiring after the Nov. 8 election, received a Malibu tile from the city at the meeting in recognition of her years of service to the community.

Malibu Mayor Lou LaMonte summarized Pavley’s accomplishments in a career that included serving four terms as mayor of Agoura Hills, three terms on the State Assembly and two terms on the State Senate.

“She is internationally acclaimed on behalf of the environment,” LaMonte said, describing Pavley as an advocate for Pacific Coast Highway safety and a champion for beaches and open space in the Santa Monica Mountains, in addition to her commitment to addressing global warming.

 “Senator Pavley never forgot she was foremost a representative for the constituents who elected her,” LaMonte said. “No matter what we gave you — doesn’t compare to what you gave us.”

“I should have retired sooner,” Pavley quipped as she received the city’s presentation.

“When I think of Malibu, together we made a difference on some things,” she said.