City to take Trancas field off low-income housing list

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Malibu’s city attorney says that Trancas field will be struck from housing element list. Council also approves radio tsunami warning system, and debates marathon and road race policy.

By Knowles Adkisson / The Malibu Times

City Attorney Christi Hogin said that city staff would recommend removing Trancas field from the list of nine properties currently being considered for rezoning for possible use as low- to moderate-income housing. The issue was discussed at Monday night’s city council meeting, during which the council also approved a tsunami warning system for residents.

The City of Malibu is in the process of submitting a Housing Element Update to its General Plan to satisfy a state requirement that all California cities provide a certain amount of low- to moderate-income housing. Malibu has never submitted a housing element, but it is preparing one now to avoid the remote possibility that a state court could find the city in contempt and take over its planning processes. As part of the housing update, the city in July 2010 identified nine parcels that would have to be rezoned to accommodate the high-density housing specified by state law, one of which was the parcel at Trancas.

But the 35-acre parcel located at 6155 Trancas Canyon Road, which is next to the Malibu West neighborhood, had been identified as a concern by residents who fear it could be used to build high-density condominiums that would blight Malibu’s rural character. Hogin told reporters after the council meeting Monday night that city staff would make a recommendation at a July 6 public meeting to remove the Trancas property from the parcels being considered by the city for rezoning.

At the meeting, the council also voted to increase its current agreement with consulting firm J.H. Douglas and Associates, retained to advise the city during the housing element process, by $11,600, to a total of $81,830. In return, the consulting firm will continue to advise and guide the city through the process, as well as conduct two additional workshops on the preparation of the housing element update.

City approves radio-warning system

The city council also approved the purchase of transmission equipment to pick up a warning radio system by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Malibu, at a cost of $22,600. Brad Davis, the city’s emergency services coordinator, put forward the recommendation after studying ways to improve the city’s preparedness for a possible tsunami.

The NOAA Weather Radio system is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest NWS office. The network broadcasts weather warnings, watches and hazards continuously, including warnings and post-event information for disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Currently the radio service is unavailable in Malibu because of the lack of a transmission site. Davis brokered an agreement with the NWS in which the agency would share the cost of putting in a transmitter at Point Dume with the City of Malibu, which the council unanimously approved.

Residents who want to receive the alerts must buy a special weather radio capable of picking up the signal, which, Davis said, could be purchased locally for approximately $50.

Policy would limit time frame, areas for races

The council also debated passage of a new policy that would set guidelines and requirements for marathons and road races. Parks and Recreation Director Bob Stallings explained that the success of the annual Nautica Malibu Triathlon and Malibu International Marathon had led other organizations to contact the city in hopes of holding athletic events in Malibu. The new policy, as outlined by Stallings, would set parameters that reflect public safety concerns and minimize the inconvenience to residents.

Under the new policy, all races would take place between September and May to avoid the crowded tourist season. They would take place during daylight hours only and would also be restricted from Zuma Beach north to Ventura. Stallings said holding races south of Zuma would not be safe for runners and logistically not favorable for staging and traffic control. Each of the events would require approval from Caltrans, Los Angeles County Beaches and Harbors, the county sheriff’s and fire departments, and the California Highway Patrol. A temporary use permit from the City of Malibu would also be required. The new policy would place a limit of four permits per year.

Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, speaking via teleconferencing from New York, expressed concern that the limit of four temporary use permits per year could be restrictive, as existing annual events could take up at least two of the allotted permits. City Manager Jim Thorsen concurred with Ulich, stating that, since the existing annual events would have to be filtered through the new requirements, four permits per year might be limiting. The item was referred back to the council’s Parks and Recreation subcommittee of Ulich and Mayor Pro Tem Laura Rosenthal for further study.