Bay Company tips its hand — slightly

With negotiations for a possible development agreement with the city underway in private, the Malibu Bay Company last week dropped hints of the kind of offer it might initially make in a deal to trade parks for development rights. But the suggested size of the development — 100,000 square feet — at the Bay Company’s Point Dume property is probably too large to win the City Council’s blessing.

At the Point Dume Homeowners Association meeting March 23, architect Ed Niles, speaking on behalf of the Bay Company, told residents that approximately six acres of the company’s land near Heathercliff Road and PCH may be available for parks and recreation space. On the remainder of the parcel, roughly 14 acres, Niles told residents the company would like to develop 100,000 square feet of office and commercial space.

Residents who attended the meeting said Niles did not make any concrete or specific offer but spoke in only the most general terms about how the company planned to develop its land in the future.

“Nothing was promised positively,” said Frank Basso, president of the homeowners association’s board of directors.

Still, Basso said he understood that the company was floating a proposal to donate the roughly six acres to the city, in return for development rights. He said the company asked to make the presentation to the homeowners group.

Five acres out of the possible total gift from the site would reportedly be on a flat part of the parcel, with the remainder on a slope. Niles prepared a diagram showing room for two baseball diamonds, a soccer field, a 12,000-square-foot community center and a skateboard park, said resident Paul Major.

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He said Niles told the group the Bay Company planned a one-story office park and a small shopping center for the remainder of the site. Major said the group was told the company planned to build the property out over a period of approximately 15 years as needs in the community arose.

“He said they were interested in developing over time,” Major said.

But even if built out over time, the size of the development is not likely to be well-received by the City Council.

Councilman Tom Hasse, who is serving on the ad hoc committee that is negotiating with the Bay Company, said recently that while 125,000 square feet of development would be permitted on the Point Dume site, he believed residents in western Malibu did not want to see a new development on that order. Mayor Walt Keller, speaking for himself and Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn Van Horn, said they did not envision a development of that scale when they proposed exchanging development rights for park space at the Point Dume property.

Hasse, who attended last week’s meeting, said the presentation was so general, he was unsure whether the Bay Company was offering to donate the approximately six acres to the city. But, he said, the company’s sharing of its proposals directly with residents complicated the private negotiations he and Councilwoman Joan House are conducting with the company.

“Negotiating in private a general land use agreement is probably easier if the parties did not do that,” he said.

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