Council Declines to Defend Point Dume Community Services District

Malibu Elementary Collection

City Hall will remain open by appointment only, for now. Developers the Mani brothers lost their appeal to move their parking lot across the street from the Malibu Beach Inn. The Malibu High School parking lot will be used as a temporary tow yard during the busy summer months. On Monday evening, June 14, Malibu City Council met for nearly six hours, rattling through a long list of agenda items that took the council—and the handful of those attending the meeting virtually via YouTube and Zoom—into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Writing is on the wall for Point Dume Community Services District

When the Point Dume Community Services District was formed in 1985, the neighborhood had just lost Point Dume Elementary School. The neighborhood—Malibu’s largest—was without a community center, its local school and associated playground shuttered as enrollment dwindled. The Local Agency Formation Commission for the County of Los Angeles (LAFCO) granted permission for nearby residents to form a community services district, “formed for the purpose of revitalizing what was a neglected property for a number of years,” according to lifelong Point Dume resident Hap Henry, who spoke Monday. Henry said the district “continues to serve as a vital resource,” but council members and LAFCO said there was little sign the community services district was still active. Most services provided by the district have not been active for years; the elementary school reopened in 1996 and the property went back under the control of the school district. The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu is also active on every school site in Malibu, including at Point Dume.

This summer, LAFCO announced it recommended dissolving the district. In response, a little over 150 community members signed an online petition to save the district and the district leaped into action, creating a website and creating future plans, including for a community garden. They also requested city council send a letter to LAFCO in support of the district, but council members voted, 3-1, not to write the letter. Council Member Mikke Pierson voted “no” on the motion to take no action; Council Member Bruce Silverstein abstained from the vote.

“I appreciate the enthusiasm [but] it sounds like it’s coming very late, in the scheme of things,” Council Member Karen Farrer said, suggesting a fire safe council or fire brigade be formed in place of the community services district for those who wish to be more engaged in the community.

Silverstein said it appeared there was “a lot of nothing going on, until LAFCO recommended the district be dissolved.” When Silverstein asked if the district could be re-formed after being dissolved, Paul Novak, representing LAFCO, suggested the district may not “survive.” Novak added that it has been many years since the school on Point Dume reopened, offering time for the district to reform after losing its home base—time the district did not use.

If the district is dissolved, Novak said, the district’s $20,000 in assets would likely go to the City of Malibu; LAFCO may provide guidance as to how that money could be spent effectively for the neighborhood.

COVID-19 restrictions ease, City Hall remains closed

City council voted unanimously, 5-0, to approve an ordinance lifting the outdoor mask mandate that had been in place in Malibu since November 2020, when virus cases began to surge in LA County.

As for when city council meetings will once again be open for the public to attend in person, there was no definitive answer; because Cal/OSHA, the state body that oversees workplace safety, has not updated mask guidelines for places of work, city staff said there was no clear timeline for when members of the public would be permitted to return to City Hall without masks and social distancing required.

“I’m wnot really wanting to sit here for six hours wearing a mask,” Pierson said.

As to the idea of a “hybrid meeting” with some in-person and some virtual attendance, interim City Manager Steve McClary said he worried that would slow down meetings. 

In order to avoid premature—and time consuming—discussions over the resumption of in-person meetings, council instead moved to potentially form an ad hoc committee to make recommendations to council later in the summer. 

Malibu Beach Inn off-site parking appeal struck down

Malibu Beach Inn will not be permitted to use an off-site parking lot located across Pacific Coast Highway in order to free up space for a swimming pool. In a very brief hering, city council voted to deny the developers’ appeal over their previous decision denying the off-site parking. The vote was 4-0 with Council Member Steve Uhring recused. (Uhring previously voted on the project while a planning commissioner and is not permitted to cast a council vote.)

Malibu Times secures legal advertising contract

The Malibu Times will continue to publish legal advertising and notices for the City of Malibu. The city set aside $99,980 for the contract; according to a staff report, “the city is legally required to publish notices and ordinances in a legally adjudicated newspaper in general circulation within the city.” A request for proposals was also sent to the Malibu Surfside News, which did not submit a proposal for the contract. The contract was approved unanimously, 4-0, with Uhring abstaining.

Farmers Market parking lot approved as SMC construction continues

City council voted to waive the $300 permit application fee for the Malibu Farmers Market to move its parking to the city’s Sycamore Village property while the Santa Monica College Campus construction project continues in the Malibu Civic Center.  

Tow yard permit fee waived at MHS

City council voted to permit the Malibu High School upper parking lot to be used as a temporary tow yard for vehicles ticketed and towed in Malibu. The total fees waived totaled $4,184. 

Malibu Towing, the city’s previous tow company, ceased operations after losing its lot in the Civic Center in 2018. According to city staff, the city makes a profit off of each towed vehicle to the tune of about $100 per vehicle, minus fees. 

“The one thing I heard over and over and over while I was running [for office] is people are totally pissed about the way beach traffic was handled last year,” Grisanti said, adding, “people [who] were happy to pay $50 in a fine are suddenly very irritated to find their decision to park in front of a hydrant is going to end up costing them … $300.” 

City manager recruitment firm hired

City council voted to hire the human resources firm William Avery & Associates to recruit the city’s next city manager. The task is expected to take around four months and the maximum allocated for the search is $26,900.