New MBC deal includes Point Dume community center, urgent care center


The new Malibu Bay Company agreement may be headed for the November ballot if the Malibu City Council gives the thumbs up on Tuesday.

By Jonathan Friedman/Special to The Malibu Times

By next Wednesday morning, Malibu voters will know whether they have a major ballot item to look forward to in the November election.

Following City Attorney Christi Hogin’s announcement of a revised Malibu Bay Company (MBC) Development Agreement Plan B at last week’s special meeting, the City Council established a schedule for what may go down as two of the most significant days in Malibu history.

On Monday, the Planning Commission will take a look at the new plan and offer its recommendation. Less than 24 hours later, the council will vote on the agreement.

The revised Plan B contains several new features. The most significant is that if the city purchases the Chili Cook-off site within three years of approval by voters, the MBC will construct a 5,000-square-foot community center at Point Dume. But it would reduce the original $5 million offered to the city to $2.5 million.

Also under the revised plan, the MBC has committed itself to building a new urgent care facility on the St. John’s site. In addition, the $2.5 million donation will no longer be exclusively for ball fields, but rather at least $1.5 million must go toward ball fields and up to $1 million for capital facilities for the urgent care center.

But if the city were unable to buy the site within the three-year time period, the company would donate its entire Point Dume site for use as a park or a community center. It would also give the city $5 million for the construction of ball fields and community facilities.

Two items are still up in the air. One is that the company wants a 5 percent annual increase on the Chili Cook-Off price, down from the previous 6 percent. The city would like it lowered further, because it would mean it would be paying more than $25 million. Also in dispute is when the $2.5 donation would be granted.

The main difference between Plan B and the original MBC deal is the city’s purchase of the Chili Cook-Off site for $25 million, with a water treatment facility being built there. The city hopes to get most of that money through federal and state grants and loans.

But that does not mean the city would be getting everything for free. Some of the state funding requires 10 percent to 20 percent local matching funds. Also, the city would have to use its own general fund money to purchase the Chili Cook-Off’s developed portions. But according to the city, those properties would then be used as revenue streams to offset some of the purchase and construction costs.

As in the original Plan B, if the city does not come up with the money by the end of the three-year period for the purchase of the Chili Cook-Off, then the MBC would be able to develop on that land according to the first development agreement.

If the city does buy the property, then the company gets to develop its Point Dume site according to the city’s zoning code.

The city does not necessarily need to approve the agreement at Tuesday’s meeting for it to make the deadline to get the item ready for the November ballot. But the city must have enough time for a second meeting, which is needed to direct city staff to get the item on the ballot.

During the public comment portion at the beginning of the meeting, a large number of people spoke about the recent court ruling that said the city could not begin issuing coastal permits while pursuing its appeal of a previous ruling that disallowed Malibuites from voting on the Local Coastal Plan.

Like a series of motivational speakers, the residents encouraged the council not to give up its appeal. Several people also compared the Coastal Commission to historical tyrants such as Mao, and compared the city stance to that of Colonial America’s declaration of independence from the British.

All the council members said they were in favor of pursuing the appeal, but the council did not take any official action. Mayor Ken Kearsley said the city must not back away from challenging what he called legislation without representation.

“[The Coastal Commission] passed legislation specifically for this city. Under the constitution of California, I believe we have a right to referend that legislation. And I’m not going to give up that battle. It’s a matter of principal.”