Council fights for our right to party

In a move sure to warm the hearts of Malibu’s party animals, the City Council Monday unanimously rejected a proposal that would have sharply limited the size and frequency of parties that residents may have in their homes each year. But the council still intends to curb some of the party activities in residential areas, and it asked the staff to prepare an alternative proposal.

Hoping to grant relief to Ramirez Canyon residents suffering from the numerous events and catered functions held at the Streisand Center for Conservancy Studies, the council asked the Planning Commission last year to propose changes to the city’s temporary use permit requirements in order to limit the number of parties any one resident may have.

The commission, in a recent unanimous decision, proposed the changes, but some in the community found them to be just too strict. The commission proposed limiting residents to two parties per year when 50 or more guests are invited and limiting nonresidential facilities to four events per year when 100 or more guests are invited. The commission also proposed requiring the application for a temporary use permit to be filed 45 days before the event.

Sensing that the commission’s proposal would not be well received by residents, City Manager Harry Peacock asked the council to allow staff to prepare an alternative.

“I don’t believe that … this will be accepted by the community,” said Peacock.

Residents also showed up to complain, in part about the decision by the commission to exempt only the Malibu West Beach Club, the La Costa Beach Club and the Malibu Stage Company from the four-event limit.

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But the council needed little arm-twisting, and it quickly sent the matter to staff for reworking.

“I appreciate the problem of people living in Ramirez Canyon, but I don’t want to [solve] a problem at the expense of everyone else,” said Councilman Harry Barovsky.

In other matters, the council also unanimously agreed to amend the General Plan and set up an assessment district in order to build a public road linking Rambla Pacifico Drive to Las Flores Canyon Road.

Residents living on upper Rambla Pacifico Drive have been negotiating with residents at the base of the canyon in an attempt to create an easement across part of their land for a private road. Recently, the negotiations collapsed, and exasperated residents from upper Rambla Pacifico Drive asked the council Monday to intervene in the dispute and initiate eminent domain proceedings for the piece of land originally sought for the easement.

While the parties may still negotiate an agreement privately, the council agreed to prepare an assessment district in the event an agreement could not be reached. The current temporary access road is not always reliable, and residents on upper Rambla Pacifico Drive fear for their health and safety.

“This has been fiddling along long enough,” said Mayor Walt Keller. “We need a direct road from Las Flores to Rambla Pacifico.”

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

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