Ilegal by definition

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    Let’s be honest. A hotel is a hotel is a hotel.

    The Malibu City Council is poised to consider the Forge Lodge application, the addition of a 27-suite overnight accommodation to an existing restaurant serving the public, with meeting rooms, on a property zoned Commercial Visitor serving 1 (CV-1). According to Malibu’s Municipal Zoning Code, an overnight accommodation with a restaurant serving the public is a hotel. Hotels are allowed only on properties zoned Commercial Visitor Serving 2 (CV-2).

    Malibu Municipal Code definition: “Hotel” means a facility offering transient lodging accommodations to the general public and providing additional services, such as restaurants and meeting rooms.

    The city staff suggests that turning one of the suites into a kitchen and dining area (for use of guests only) and the restaurant not serving breakfast, except for brunch on Sunday, would make the establishment a bed and breakfast inn.

    Malibu Municipal Code definition: “Bed and Breakfast Inn” means a facility offering transient lodging accommodations to the public and providing kitchen facilities adequate to provide meals to the guests of the facility only and not otherwise open to the public.

    Does the public serving restaurant with meeting rooms on the same CV-1 property suddenly disappear when the 27 suite bed and breakfast inn is added? If this were an application for 27 overnight suites, a kitchen and dining area for overnight visitors, and a public restaurant with meeting rooms, on a vacant CV-1 parcel, would it be a hotel application or a bed and breakfast application? A project that fits the city’s hotel definition is a hotel, not a bed and breakfast.

    There are two CV-2 properties designated for hotels, with conditional use permits, in Malibu: The Malibu Beach Inn with approximately 15,680 square feet of rooms, and the Adamson Hotel Property. The proposed 27,680 square foot suites on the BeauRivage property would total 18,360 square feet. With the kitchen for use by the overnight guests then it would be 19,040 square feet. The rooms alone are larger than the Malibu Beach Inn and that is excluding the existing restaurant. Try to imagine the impact of a Malibu Beach Inn chopped into seven separate structures, situated within the required 10 foot setback from a fragile blue line stream, on a CV-1 zoned property.

    There are several other CV-1 properties in Malibu, among them Paradise Cove and the Gray Whale site at Westward Beach. What precedent would this hotel in CV-1 set for those other properties? While the City Council may be justified in seeking income from the additional bed tax, and Malibu may need more overnight visitor accommodations, the long-term effects of disregarding zoning regulations and General Plan policies should be carefully considered to avoid unwanted precedents from being set. Let’s be honest. A hotel is a hotel is a hotel is a hotel…

    Debby Decray