Memorial Park Project Receives Final Approval

For decades — years before Malibu was incorporated — developers discussed constructing a high-end resort hotel along Pacific Coast Highway at the foot of Malibu Canyon Road in the heart of Malibu. In fact, that hotel was discussed so widely that when the plan finally died and was reincarnated as a memorial park project, many in town could hardly believe it.

When plans for the memorial park were first released in 2014, to be built on some of Malibu’s most prime real estate, many scoffed, but with the Malibu Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of the project, the plan is new en route to fruition — assuming no appeals take the plans before city council or the California Coastal Commission.

For all intents and purposes, the vote during the Monday, June 5 meeting was a technicality, since the commission voted, 4-0, on language approving plans on May 1.

This time all five commissioners voted unanimously for the project to move forward.

The one order of business at the meeting was approving language clarifying the degree of landscaping necessary to block the cemetery from view of neighbors and passersby along Pacific Coast Highway.

The final specs for the project, in addition to approval for: a 6,000-square-foot chapel, an 8,002-square-foot subterranean parking lot, a 1,346-square-foot basement, 47 mausoleum structures (totalling a maximum of 9,400 square feet), 28,265 in-ground burial plot spaces, 3,644 interments in above ground wall crypts as well as a circular driveway, parking lot, entry gates, landscaping, grading and exterior lighting, will include landscaping tall and wide enough to “substantially screen” portions of mausoleums fronting Pacific Coast Highway.

The additional wording was fully approved by commissioners without much discussion.

“To me it sounds like more detail on what we’ve already approved,” Commission Chair Mikke Pierson remarked. 

“This is basically what we said,” Commissioner John Mazza later added.

Aside from Fred Gaines, representing the developers, and Don Schmitz, a stakeholder, there was no public comment on the permits, which had previously drawn skepticism from residents concerned over possible traffic increases due to funeral processions. Those guidelines stipulate “funeral processions involving more than 12 vehicles may only be scheduled between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, or on weekends. During the summer months, weekend funeral processions with more than 12 vehicles shall only occur between 9 a.m. and 12 noon. All funeral processions shall be scheduled a minimum of 30 minutes apart. No funeral processions shall be scheduled on the Fourth of July holiday, Memorial Day weekend or Labor Day weekend.”

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