I would like to express my support for the Limited Moratorium on code enforcement currently under consideration by the City Council. The proposal recommends that the city postpone requiring permits for pre-1993 structures that would have been legal at the time they were built until they determine what is legally necessary and fair to require of homeowners who own these structures. The Moratorium does not apply to anything built without a permit since cityhood, but applies to only eight current cases of structures built before cityhood without a permit on file and similar cases that may arise during the period of the Moratorium. As such, the measures applies to only 2% of all current Code Enforcement cases, but will have widespread benefit for any pre-93 homes that may be potential future cases. It contains just a few simple elements.
Grandfathered structures are, by definition, structures that don’t meet the current zoning code but are legally entitled to exist because they conformed to the building and zoning codes at the time they were built, even if a permit is not on record. The city requires a building permit be obtained for these buildings. This is fine. However, Malibu’s IZO requires that before granting a building permit “a Planning clearance shall be issued by the director certifying that said permit complies with all provisions of the Article [the IZO].” Since being Grandfathered means a non-IZO compliant structure is legal, it is a great contradiction and erasure of the state protected right to Grandfathering to require it to comply with all the provisions of the 1993 IZO.
Meeting Planning requirements means the owner must submit a site survey, geology report, site review, plot plan review, color coded topography report, slope analysis, drainage plan, floor plans, elevations and sections, a landscape plan, and possibly an Archeology report, a Biology report, other studies and mitigation measures. The Moratorium simply states that the City will uphold the State Building Code for these buildings but will wait to require what may cost upwards of $30,000 until the city decides if these Planning requirements are really necessary for an existing structure, and whether it can be permitted according to the Building Codes at the time it was built or must be brought to current code.
The proposal protects health and safety and complies with all State and local Building Codes as the Moratorium’s language states “For the purposes of protection Health and Life Safety of the public, the Moratorium shall provide for the continued Enforcement of the Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings and the Fire and Life Safety Provisions of the Californian Building Code and Health Code requirement of the Malibu Municipal Code, including septic requirement, for unpermitted structures.”
Approval of the Limited Moratorium will be a great first step toward solving the code enforcement problem by reducing some of the “spaghetti code” that’s causing it.