City commission to discuss skate park plans — UPDATE

Charlie Davenport flies through the air during the farewell party for Papa Jack’s Skate Park in October 2011. Ramps at the park were relocated due to plans to build a commercial space that will house a Whole Foods market at the site. Devon Meyers/ TMT

UPDATE — Tuesday [Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that skatepark design consultant Zach Wormhoudt would give a presentation on the potential skate park sites at Bluffs Park on Tuesday, but that is not the case.]

The Malibu Parks and Recreation Commission will receive a status report on plans for a permanent skate park at Malibu Bluffs Park on Tuesday at City Hall. The commission meets at 6:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room.

A feasibility study (see attached, left) prepared by skate park design consultant Zach Wormhoudt recommends two proposed sites in Malibu Bluffs Park. Both of the sites are located on the southernmost edge of the park over looking Malibu Road.

Two primary options

The first site, referred to as “the most desirable,” is a triangular space overlooking the bluff, sandwiched between the main soccer field and the pony league baseball field.

The total size of the site is 9,000 square feet, which the study estimates could accommodate a skate park of up to 8,000 square feet.

The study cites this location as “the least likely site to have potential impacts on adjacent off-site uses” and that construction on the site would likely have the least amount of impact on nearby environmentally sensitive habitat areas (ESHA).

Drawbacks for the site include the need to relocate or design around an existing Oak tree and play structure, limited visual access for enforcement purposes and potential space limitations.

The second site is a 10,000-square-foot parcel at the south end of the soccer field adjacent to a scenic overlook. 

The site has “good potential for being developed with minimal impacts” to ESHA and is unlikely to impact adjacent off-site uses, the study reports. Disadvantages of the site include potentially having to relocate an existing sand area, potential space limitations from the adjacent multi-use field, exposure to debris from trees on the site’s northwest boundary and limited visual access for enforcement purposes. 

Four other sites were also considered and given lower grades than these sites.  


Whichever site is chosen, the skate park will be designed for users of all ages and skill levels, and will be compatible with bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates and scooters. The skate park would operate during the same hours as Malibu Bluffs Park, which is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 

The park will be primarily designed for daily walk-on use, but it could also be used for city-sponsored classes, and will also be designed to accommodate special events such as demonstrations and competitions, the study says. 


The average age of expected skate park users is 14 years old, which makes the need for parking “a bit different than most recreational facilities,” according to the study. Most users will be reliant on public transportation, parents, friends and their own skateboard or bicycle for transportation to the park. 

Therefore, “an over abundance of parking is less important than efficient and safe pick up and drop off areas,” the study states. 

Spectator seating

Another consideration the study took into account is “the mesmerizing dynamic that skating and bicycling have on the spectator.”

“Very often people who are not users of the skate park or who do not know anyone using the skate park will spend hours watching the endless cycle of tricks being performed,” the study states. “For many participants, watching friends and more experienced athletes is an integral part of the sport’s culture. In either case, providing spectators with seating options directly influences the success of the park.”

Options for spectator seating include informal seating such as lawn berms, benches and seat wells. More formal seating options include bleachers and terraced vantage points. 


Some support buildings will need to be added, such as restrooms. Other potential structures include “check-in, concessions, equipment storage and pro-shops buildings.”

Structural maintenance for the park is not predicted, according to the report, although daily trash receptacle clearance and restroom cleaning will be required. A water source will also be required for periodic washing of the park. 


Malibu has been without a skate park since Papa Jacks Skate Park closed in October 2011 due to plans to build a Whole Foods store on the grounds. Attempts to use the parking lot of Bluffs Park as a temporary skate park were frustrated by disagreements with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the city in March ruled out the option of a temporary park.  



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