Commission draws Perez stringline

In the latest episode of a yearlong battle between Carbon Beach neighbors Charles Perez and Gil Segel (and between planning commissioners and staff), the Planning Commission Monday drew the stringline for the remodel of Perez’s home.

The stringline is a rule of thumb for determining how far seaward homes and decks may project toward the beach. The City Council, punting a difficult decision, had directed the commission to delineate the Perez stringline according to a definition made by the council last month. That definition said the deck stringline applies to swimming pools.

Perez’s attorney, William Ross, said the stringline should be drawn based on the city’s Interim Zoning Ordinance. Segel’s attorney, Frank Angel, said the Coastal Commission easements granted to the prior owner of the Perez property preclude approval of any stringline seaward of Perez’s existing deck.

On Commissioner Jo Ruggles’ motion, the commissioners voted 3-2, Chair Ken Kearsley and Vice Chair Ed Lipnick dissenting, to draw the Perez stringline from the corner of the Segel pool across the outside edge of the existing deck.

Although the City Council, through a memo by City Manager Harry Peacock, had directed the commissioners to apply the city’s Zoning Ordinance and council-adopted definition of stringline and deck rather than second-guessing what the California Coastal Commission or State Lands Commission might decide later, Ruggles said the stringline used a conservative approach. In comments to The Malibu Times, she said the delineation she described is the one closest to the original stringline.

“We should not violate past Coastal Commission permits,” she said.

Commissioner Charleen Kabrin, who sided with Ruggles, noted, “I am responding to a recorded easement. There is no evidence that it has been set aside.”

Commissioner Andrew Stern said he hated to make a decision that might be refuted by the Coastal Commission. “I personally resent that this came back to us,” he said. “This is just another case where we approve something and, when it goes to Coastal, they say it is wrong.”

According to Perez’s architect, Michael Barsocchini, the Planning Commission stringline is “radically different” and would completely eliminate the pool where it was planned.

The site-specific Perez stringline is separate from the commission’s action last week on the stringline Zone Text Amendment. (See separate story.)

In other matters in the meeting ending at 11:45 p.m., the commissioners offered ice cream treats if neighbors battling over view issues could resolve their differences before the commissioners had to vote.

The bribe worked on an agenda item involving Boniface Drive neighbors who disputed height and landscape issues. On a suggestion by Stern that the parties work on a compromise offered at the meeting, the parties came back 15 minutes later with draft language for the resolution. The vote in favor of the resolution was 4-0, Kabrin abstaining because she lived near the parties.

On view issues between neighbors on Carbon Mesa Road, the commissioners voted unanimously to continue the hearing to March 6 so the parties could iron out a compromise on the height of the proposed home.

The commissioners voted 4-1, Lipnick dissenting, to approve Ruggles’ motion for a new home on Horizon Drive but without the pool. Ruggles said she was concerned about geological issues on the steep slope. The commissioners said they would consider an amended application from the applicants with more information about the pool. The commissioners also voted 5-0 to add low-intensity exterior lighting conditions to the approval.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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