Resident continues fight against Seaboard home

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The City Council approved the application, but the property owner must obtain a coastal permit. The council will discuss a sales tax proposal at its next meeting.

By Jonathan Friedman/Assistant Editor

The City Council upheld the Planning Commission’s approval for a 9,390 square-foot home on a 32-acre property on Seaboard Road in Big Rock at its meeting Monday.

The project was appealed by Big Rock resident Kraig Hill, who wrote a 72-page letter to the City Council outlining his concerns. They included the house exceeding the 28-foot limit allowed by the zoning code, that the project would require Seaboard Road to be widened and that a more in-depth environmental review should have been done. Several of Hill’s concerns were addressed when the property owner, Marvin Smith, agreed to several concessions. But Hill said problems still remained with the project. Hill will get a chance to raise his concerns several more times, as Smith must apply for a coastal permit.

The Smith project has been a controversial one, with the Planning Commission taking three meetings before making its decision. Several homeowners attended the meeting, concerned that an access road being built to the property would require widening Seaboard Road. However Smith agreed to sign into the approval that he would not widen the paved portion of the road. There is a dirt portion of the road that will need to be widened. Smith also agreed to pay for any damage caused to the road by trucks coming to the property for grading. Additionally, Smith agreed to dedicate part of his property as a five-foot wide trail that people can use in the daytime.

However, Hill said that Smith’s agreement is null regarding the widening of the road because there were other vacant properties in the area, including one in which the owners were going through the planning process, which would require the road to be widened anyway. Hill said the Fire Department would demand it. Additionally, Hill claims the project proposal actually was for a 35-foot high home, which is illegal by the zoning code. A Malibu home can only reach 18 feet and up to 28 feet with a variance. City staff, however, said Hill’s evidence was not correct, and that the home was 28 feet high.

Hill will get a chance to bring up all his concerns again as the project must go before the Planning Commission a second time when Smith applies for a coastal permit. When the city begins issuing coastal permits next month, projects will be presented to the Planning Commission to seek both city and coastal permits at once. Those projects can be appealed to the City Council. And some projects can be further appealed to the California Coastal Commission.

March election?

Local activist John Mazza asked the City Council to look into putting a half-cent city sales tax increase on the March ballot, with the money generated going to police services.

A similar measure went before county voters last week, but failed. The City Council asked city staff to look into the matter. City Manager Katie Lichtig said staff had researched the issue previously, and would return to the Nov. 22 meeting with information. The council must approve a tax increase measure by mid-December for it to be placed on the March ballot.

Twenty glorious years

Also at the meeting, a proclamation was made congratulating the Surfrider Foundation on its 20th anniversary. The environmental organization was formed in Malibu in reaction to water pollution at Malibu Surfrider Beach. It has since become a national organization with local chapters throughout the United States.