A bombshell went off at City Hall early Tuesday morning with the announcement that the City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee had reached an agreement with Malibu Bay Company for a long-term development plan for the Malibu Bay Company’s land in the Civic Center.
None of the parties to the negotiation would talk about the specifics of the proposed deal, waiting until it is first presented in its entirety to the City Council at its next meeting, Feb. 14.
The city had been seeking certain amenities, including land for ballfields, land for a community center and perhaps a building for the center, as well as to keep some of the undeveloped land in open space. In exchange, the city was prepared to negotiate a legally enforceable deal and perhaps some density bonuses. The Malibu Bay Company, the city’s largest landowner, was seeking some certainty, an orderly road map for developing its properties and perhaps an avoidance of a protracted, contentious development process and litigation.
According to a press release from the city of Malibu, negotiators characterized the overall agreement as one that responsibly limits future commercial development on Malibu Bay Company properties and secures significant public amenities and benefits for the Malibu community.
Although there has been official silence clamped onto the negotiations, information has trickled out over the 10 months about a series of tough negotiations, sometimes late into the night, between the Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of Councilmembers Joan House and Tom Hasse, assisted by the city manager and city attorney, and representatives from the Malibu Bay Company, including Jerry Perenchio and his attorney son John Perenchio, both personally participating in the negotiations at various stages. The last few weeks included some marathon negotiating sessions with a report of Jerry Perenchio helicoptering in to take part. Rumors had circulated that the negotiations were reaching zero hour and that Feb. 7 was the drop-dead date.
The deal the Ad Hoc Committee is presenting to the council is merely a draft proposal, unless and until there is a minimum of three council votes to make it a reality. If the council approves a timeline to move it forward, it has to go through an EIR process and then public hearings before the Malibu Planning Commission and ultimately the Malibu City Council for approval of the final agreement. Thereafter it also has to be approved by the California Coastal Commission. Knowledgeable individuals have indicated the entire process could take 18 months at minimum and probably a great deal longer.
The Malibu Bay Company holdings include the following properties over Malibu:
- The Civic Center properties include:
- Chili Cook-off site, approximately 20 acres
- Ioki site (adjacent to City Hall), approximately 9 acres
- Island site (small piece at the intersection of PCH/Webb Way/Civic Center Way), approximately 1 acre
- St. John Urgent Care Center/Old Post Office Site, approximately 2 acres
- Winter Canyon Site (on Civic Center Way and Winter Canyon), approximately 4 acres
- Smith Parcel site (beneath condominiums on the west site of the Civic Center), 4 acres (2 acres of which may be wetlands)
- Knoll Site (adjacent and west of the location of Ralphs Market/Malibu Colony Plaza Center), approximately 4 acres
- Gagnon site (near the old Post Office), approximately 3 acres
West Malibu properties include:
- Trancas Commercial Center (currently where the Trancas Market & Starbucks are located and extends to the other side of Trancas Canyon Road, including the gas station), approximately 12 acres
- Trancas adjacent (a large, L-shaped parcel on PCH and Trancas Canyon Road and into the hills above, some flat and zoned residential), approximately 25 acres
- Old Trancas Riders & Ropers site (just east of the market), approximately 5 acres
- Trancas Beach site (east of the Swim Club), several beach parcels with about 200 feet of beachfront
- Point Dume site (large parcel, with 12-13 flat acres along PCH, between Portshead and Heathercliff, where the high school Christmas tree lot is usually located), approximately 19 acres
The Ad Hoc Committee discussions with Malibu Bay Company covered a total of about 46 acres in the Civic Center. There are also several other landowners in the Civic Center who cumulatively own about 94 acres, which includes the Adamson Hotel site at the intersection of PCH and Malibu Canyon Road and a number of parcels in the center itself. Some of the Malibu Bay Company sites under discussion are already partially built out, including the Malibu Colony Plaza Center, the old Post Office/St. John’s Urgent Care site and on the other side of PCH Malibu Lumber Company and the Pet Hospital. Most, however, are still undeveloped. Most of the owners of the Civic Center properties, including Malibu Bay Company, already have projects in the development pipeline in various stages of review. The proposed development agreement with Malibu Bay Company would be instead of those it already applied for. If the proposed agreement is rejected, Malibu Bay Company could still proceed with its current applications, which are submitted under the rules of the General Plan and the Interim Zoning Ordinance.
The proposed settlement is currently in the hands of attorneys for a final draft and the council agenda for the upcoming meeting is being amended.