City Council to Discuss View Restoration Ordinance

Malibu City Council

The Malibu City Council will decide whether to adopt a citywide view restoration ordinance at its regular meeting Monday night.

The Planning Commission last month sent a finalized version of the ordinance to the City Council, recommending that the council schedule a second reading and adoption of the ordinance in January.

The ordinance contains two components: view preservation and view restoration.

View preservation entitles private homeowners to preserve their primary 180-degree view beginning Feb. 13, 2013 “or a date thereafter.”

If a private homeowner has documented his or her primary view with the city and that view is later obstructed by a neighbor’s foliage, the homeowner could initiate informal talks with their neighbor to have the foliage removed. Should informal talks fail, the complainant could offer mediation or binding arbitration as an option.

If the neighbor declines arbitration, the homeowner can move on to the Planning Commission.

View restoration entitles private homeowners to restore a view dating back to March 29, 1991 (when Malibu was incorporated as a city), or the date the owner obtained the property. The city is taking a hands-off approach to restoration disputes. Instead, neighbors would settle conflicts through a “private right of action” program, first through informal discussions, then mediation or arbitration, and, if that fails, a civil lawsuit.

In the case of a lawsuit, the city’s planning director could issue an advisory opinion favoring one party, but the city would not enforce the opinion.

The ordinance was first introduced in 2008, when 60 percent of Malibu voters approved an advisory ballot measure presenting the idea of view preservation.