The most recent Malibu City Council meeting was set to take place on Monday, May 10—but Malibu residents had to wait until Thursday, May 13, due to a major power outage in the city. At the rescheduled Thursday meeting, the council sent city staff back to the drawing board regarding whether or not a plot of city-owned land called the Triangle Parcel should become a parking lot, decided to put together a 10-person taskforce to address homelessness and appointed 25 of Malibu’s youngest community members to the city’s youth commission.
More information needed on Triangle Parcel
Some members of the public who spoke on Thursday were there to protest Malibu city staff’s recommendation that some areas of the city be rezoned to allow stand-alone parking lots. Specifically, they were concerned about turning the so-called Triangle (or Island) Parcel, a 1.1-acre lot hemmed in by Civic Center Way, Webb Way and Pacific Coast Highway, into a parking lot.
The issue arose due to an agreement the city made with the County of Los Angeles in 2018. At the time, the city was working to secure the purchase of three vacant land parcels that were once owned by the late Jerry Perenchio’s Malibu Bay Co. In order to secure funding for the $42.5 million purchase, City Hall applied for a grant out of the county’s Measure M transportation fund, promising that some of that land would be used for transportation-related purposes. According to the city, the popular purchases could not have been made without the grant money and a parking lot is the most obvious option that fits that order.
“I can’t think of a citizen need that this [rezoning ordinance] is going to fulfill,” local resident Lynn Norton said. “What are we going to accomplish? How is the city going to be better for having done this?”
City council told staff to collaborate with the Zoning Ordinance Revisions and Code Enforcement Subcommittee (better known as ZORACES), which consists of Malibu City Council Members Mikke Pierson and Steve Uhring, to develop a new plan for the land.
10-member taskforce will tackle homelessness
Every council member wants to address homelessness, but they disagree on exactly how to do it. Council Member Steve Uhring proposed creating three committees—one to look into creating an alternative sleeping location (known as an ASL), one to look into solutions that lie outside of Malibu and one to vet a proposal put forward by Council Member Bruce Silverstein that would essentially create a permit system for homeless individuals. But Uhring’s idea was shot down by his fellow council members, who feared that the three teams would get “siloed” and end up replicating each others’ work.
Council eventually decided to create a 10-member homeless taskforce, to which each of the five council members would appoint two people, with the caveat that at least half of those appointees be people who are already on the city’s informal homeless working group, a volunteer group that consists of about a dozen people and which has already been researching the issue for years.
Interim city manager hiring finalized
Steve McClary, Malibu’s newly-hired interim city manager, briefly introduced himself at the council meeting—the first regular meeting he has attended. McClary recently replaced embattled City Manager Reva Feldman.
“I’ve done a lot of meeting, learning and listening here in the last couple weeks,” McClary said, adding that he was impressed by Malibu community members’ “high level of civic pride.” He said he and city staff were working on a plan to reopen Malibu City Hall to the public safely; the coronavirus has shuttered the building for more than a year.
Welcome new youth commissioners
The council appointed 25 Malibu children from grades seven through 12 to the Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission. Each member of the group will serve a one-year term that lasts until 2022. Youth commissioner duties include making recommendations to the city council on matters concerning the city’s programs that serve young people and planning events for young people within Malibu such as the city’s Halloween haunted house, battle of the bands and teen film festival.
Recreation Supervisor Kate Gallo said the recruitment process lasted two months; each candidate was required to complete an application and film a candidate statement describing his or her leadership and volunteer experience and their aspirations for becoming a youth commissioner.
“I think this is a wonderful program,” Mayor Paul Grisanti said. “I look forward to the first time I get a chance to vote for a city council that has a graduate of this program on it.”