Beaurivage B&B may become reality

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Given a clean bill of health regarding impacts on environment, the long-sought bed and breakfast by Beaurivage restaurant owners faces opposition from environmental groups.

By Arnold G. York/Publisher

and Carolanne Sudderth/Special to The Malibu Times

A brand-new 32-unit bed and breakfast lodge, situated on a parcel of land near the Beaurivage restaurant, moved a step closer to reality recently when the project’s draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) came back saying it would cause “no significant unavoidable impacts” to the environment.

Despite the clean bill of health, the project is beginning to pick up some environmental opposition, primarily from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. The conservancy wants the project scaled back and moved from its planned location because it charges it is too close to an environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA). The conservancy has already sent the City of Malibu a letter with their demands, and other environmental groups are also expected to voice similar opposition.

Solstice Creek, which runs near the project area, is an area targeted by various governmental agencies and several environmental groups for the reintroduction of the endangered California steelhead trout.

As reported in The Malibu Times earlier this year, several biologist and environmentalists agree that Solstice Creek is an ideal place to start bringing back the fish, although there have been no reported instances of a sustainable population there since the 1940s. Estimates to restore the relatively pristine stream to a condition that would foster steelhead are relatively low, at approximately $300,000.

It was reported at that time that “the work would be conducted in collaboration with Caltrans on behalf of the City of Malibu, with permitting from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and would involve refurbishing a metal culvert channeling stream water under the Pacific Coast Highway, building two bridges over roads crossing the streambed, and removing several stones obstacles within the stream itself.”

However, the plan to restore the steelhead may conflict with the California Coastal Commission goal to get more visitor-serving commercial overnight motels and bed and breakfasts into Malibu. The proposed site is one of the few that all planning entities seem to agree is appropriate for a small hotel/bed and breakfast, and has been zoned accordingly.

Daniel and Luciana Forge, who want to build the new lodge, have owned Beaurivage and the adjoining project land for more than 20 years.

The two began the long trek to develop a bed and breakfast lodge in 1987, before Malibu became a city. Both the County of Los Angeles and the California Coastal Commission approved a small Mediterranean Village-type development consisting of an expansion of the Beaurivage restaurant, construction of an eight-room bed and breakfast, and a 17,950 square foot retail center.

The first phase of the project expansion of the restaurant was completed, but before the second phase construction of the lodge and the retail shops began, Malibu became a city and put a moratorium on all new commercial developments, effectively killing the project.

The Forges waited several years, and in 1998 resubmitted a different version of the project, this time only a bed and breakfast without the commercial shops.

The proposed project, called “Forge Lodge,” consists of a 32-room bed and breakfast lodge, consisting of eight two-story buildings each containing four units. Each unit would be approximately 680 square feet. The existing restaurant and office would remain, but the existing boutique (which houses the retail shop Turkoise), trailers and single-family dwelling unit would be removed, and a pool and adjoining deck would be added.

The project includes 100 parking spaces, six more than the 96 spaces required by city code. Seventeen of them will be available to visitors to Solstice Canyon Park and the adjacent beach.

When the new square footage is added to the existing Beaurivage restaurant, the entire development would be about 27,860 square feet, with a floor area ratio (FAR) of 0.13, which is significantly less than the FAR of .20 to .25 allowed in the Malibu General Plan.

The site on which the lodge is proposed is zoned for small motel/bed and breakfasts in the L.A. County 1986 Land Use Plan for Malibu, (which the California Coastal Commission originally certified back in 1986), the Malibu General Plan and even the proposed controversial California Coastal Commission Land Use Plan for Malibu which is currently under debate.