Along the PCH

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The year 1989 was a most contentious and important year in Malibu history. The fight for cityhood gained momentum despite the Los Angeles County supervisors’ refusal to allow Malibu a vote, while LAFCO proposed that the county retain jurisdiction over Malibu sewer development for the first 10 years of incorporation. Martin Sheen, as Malibu’s honorary mayor, declared Malibu “a nuclear-free zone and a sanctuary for aliens and the homeless.” The Colony Coffee Shop was torn down and the Colony Plaza shopping center neared completion. A Malibu country club was proposed, with 18 holes of British-style natural terrain golf course, between Puerco and Corral canyons. Paradise Cove was put up for sale, reportedly at $100 million. The Malibu Bay Co. was established as longtime major landowner Roy Crummer sold most of his holdings to the Konheim family and Jerry Perenchio, who so-named their venture.

Where is the beginning of the watershed that ends at Malibu Lagoon? Actually, it begins near Boney Mountain, about seven miles due north of where Mulholland meets Pacific Coast Highway. On the back side of the mountain, near Hidden Valley, the original creek makes its way through Lake Sherwood, the lake at Westlake, down Triunfo Canyon, through Malibou Lake, Century Lake and Malibu Canyon.

Late in 1963, a new change occurred along PCH: pocket lanes. Lanes from which to make left turns were created up and down the coast, at Las Flores Canyon, Big Rock, Carbon Canyon, Puerco, Latigo Shore, Portshead and Broad Beach to name a few.

Ninety-five percent of departures from Malibu include a drive through a tunnel.

Tough times: A mobile home in Malibu has sold for $1.3 million. It has three bedrooms, located in the Point Dume Mobile Home Park. Many others are listed for more than $1 million.

Have you noticed the new rock slide on the wall of Malibu Canyon, similar to the one in Corral Canyon of about eight years ago? Speaking of Malibu Canyon, now that it is a Scenic Highway, is it possible to get the 12 to 15 unsightly utility wires strung between dozens of poles placed underground?

As a Realtor, I have the privilege of seeing Malibu beautify from the inside. Visitors and locals alike do not see this, as they travel along PCH. Malibu’s value and beauty, static on the outside, is in constant improvement with upgrades underway at all times to the insides of our homes. This internal beautification of Malibu is far outpacing the wear of time.

The 76 Station at the mouth of Corral Canyon has been there since the 1950s, but old photos give no hint of a rotating orange ball.

Looking for something different to do this weekend? Have you yet toured the Malibu Creek State Park in Malibu Canyon, recently called the “Yosemite of Southern California” by Sunset magazine? Spectacular sites await you as you hike along mostly flat nature trails. See the “M*A*S*H” TV filming site, Century Lake, the “Planet of the Apes” climbing wall and the Rock Lagoon.

In May 1964, Malibu Escrow opened with Kathleen Praino in charge. Perhaps they thought they might get business from the Los Altos Apartments. They were proposed to be 36 units built on four terraces in the summer of 1964, just west of PCH and Rambla Vista near the office buildings, in La Costa Hills. Two trams would bring residents up the hill from garages off the highway. A community park with tennis courts was proposed just up Rambla Pacifico. Apparently, the tennis courts prevailed. The apartments and trams did not.

Also, about 40 years ago: A Color TV shop opened up at 22227 PCH, across from Carbon Beach. Just down the street, Tony’s Liquor was a local meeting place, now Colony House Liquors. The death of a woman crossing PCH at Rambla Pacifico brought cries for a stoplight at Las Flores and also one at Carbon Canyon at the fire station. The Malibu Times also advocated a special 25 miles per hour zone along the stretch from Las Flores to Carbon. Oddly, Trancas was approved at the time for a light, but Las Flores wasn’t. The Miss Malibu beauty contest was a top annual event, locally. The California Highway Commission approved a 22-mile Malibu freeway, which would’ve arched from Puerco Canyon through Solstice, along the first mile of Latigo, along the back of Winding Way through Ramirez Canyon, past the intersection of Cavalleri/Gayton, across Bonsall and alongside Harvester, through Trancas Canyon and intersected with PCH at Lunita above Broad Beach.

Forty years ago, by the way, the Chamber of Commerce had about 40 members. Now it is about 500, the most ever.

Top restaurants in 1977: Ted’s Rancho, The Raft, Crazy Horse Saloon, Tonga-Lei, Nantucket Light, Moonshadows, Sea Lion, Beecher’s Cafe, Holiday House, Sandcastle, Alice’s, The Trancas, Cardi’s. Nine of the 13 were on the beach. Only Beecher’s was off the highway. I can still taste their salads.

Enough about the past of Malibu. How about the future? In one respect, it is very bleak. A growing cancer of anger within our citizens may yet reach a point of crisis in Malibu. It revolves around the one issue that occupies 95 percent of the relationship between the local government and its citizens-the permitting process for private property.

I am surprised the citizens of Malibu have not yet begun marching on City Hall. For 14 years of city hood, incrementally, and now with the Coastal Commission’s outrageous LCP being shoved down our throat, local citizens have tolerated ever more ridiculous, mundane, unnecessary, expensive and confusing criteria from which to beg to improve their property.

We are served by council members and staff who mean well. Nevertheless, well beyond the boundaries of safety, public welfare and reason, the burden upon local folks to comply with preposterous and ever-changing standards is totally out of control. There is no faction of our town that wishes this trend to continue.

What happens when government is so suppressive, nearing Soviet-style intrusion into our private planning decisions? Corruption, if not chaos, is one thing. The latter seems to reign in our understaffed and overworked city planning office where neither staffers nor local applicants find any enjoyment in the maze of regulations such that, to name one tiny example among several thousand, a permit is required to repair the broken clock on your wall if it is hard-wired.

The more likely response is rampant avoidance and bootlegging. Good luck, Coastal Commission, trying to track down and bring enforcement upon 5,000 Malibu home improvement projects that ignore your preposterous regulations dictated by detached bureaucrats in offices 400 miles away.

Want a successful career in local politics? This is the local issue, growing and festering in our community that you can tackle. Thousands will support you. The system needs to be dramatically streamlined and made drastically more local-friendly.

Is there any disagreement?