Letter: Fight the Fee

Letter to the Editor

This Monday City Council will discuss item 4A, the exorbitant fee of $2,615 for a view preservation permit that needs to be obtained if someone’s vegetation is blocking your view and they will not trim. Everyone who has applied and received a primary view determination (PVD) in Malibu should speak out against this fee that must be paid by the view owner, not the foliage owner. 

The view ordinance was put in place to protect our views without fear of it being blocked by others’ vegetation. If you thought your PVD was enough to protect your view, it is not, it simply “registers” your view. When the view becomes blocked and you are unable to come to any agreement to reduce the foliage after several attempts in informal discussion, followed by mediation then binding arbitration, it needs to go to the planning commission to be enforced. This is a six-month to two-year, five-step process.

On Monday night, please sign up to speak or write to citycouncil@malibucity.org to ask city planning to lower the fee to a more reasonable, less punitive $600-$750. This fee is needed to obtain a view preservation permit from the planning commission, even though a PVD fee has already been paid (currently $348). Ironically, all that needs to be reviewed is before and after photos and a visit to both sites. Even with a view preservation permit in hand, the view owner still has to pay for the initial trim to restore views. If the fee is lowered, the savings can go toward the trimming. Trimming is usually in the thousands of dollars range on top of this. It seems fair that the foliage owner should be made to pay for at least half of this trim and a part of the view permit, if the fee cannot be lowered. 

Only one resident in Malibu has paid this permit fee because a group of residents whose views are blocked by one home got together to pay the $2,615. But only one home can receive the view permit to protect their view indefinitely.

This is unfair and unreasonable, more rights need to be given to the view owners who are just trying to protect something they’ve always had. Ocean views maintain our home values and quality of life. we should not be punished for preserving this.

Also, new structures should be included in this ordinance. Our CC&Rs don’t allow any view blockage and city codes should follow this. There is an appeal on Monday night after – Item 4C for a proposed large addition which would block ocean views. It’s on a lot that has never been built upon due to being geologically unstable, in a landslide prone area. Your voice against this project is also appreciated.

Jo Drummond