University expansion spoils rural feel

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I was very disappointed in the City Council’s decision to support the Pepperdine University expansion if the university pays for any public safety costs. The City Council needs to be reminded that the Charter of the City of Malibu in part says, “The citizens of Malibu embrace their rural heritage and want to keep it that way even if it means forgoing suburban conveniences.”

How does the City Council square their citizens’ rural embrace with their support of a 400,000 square foot expansion of new development, expanding the stadium almost 2,000 seats for a total of 5,470 seats (almost half the population of the city of Malibu), additional outdoor lighting and a parking lot? The results of this proposed development are many and irreversible. Loss of our night sky from the increased field lighting: the Coastal Commission has previously found that night lighting of areas in the Malibu/Santa Monica Mountains creates a visual impact to nearby scenic beaches, scenic roads, parks and trails. In addition, the Commission found that night lighting might alter or disrupt feeding, nesting and roosting activities of native wildlife species. (Malibu is along the Pacific Flyway). Another huge irreversible impact will be the additional traffic added to our already often gridlocked downtown and accesses in and out of the city (particularly when there are 5,470 seats to be filled at stadium events), and the resultant release of unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere during the gridlock. There will be 365 acres of land impacted by the development. Instead of supporting more traffic and development in our rural village, I’d prefer the city council to focus on simple things like dealing with our embarrassing weed-choked meridians on our “main street” PCH, working with Caltrans to keep traffic lights working on PCH, and/or bold initiatives such as undergrounding of our utility lines like many cities similar to Malibu have done both to prevent wildfire and add to scenic beauty and property values.

Tom Molloy