Council sets hearing dates on development deal


Reassuring people this was just the beginning of the process, the City Council voted 2-to-1, with City Councilman Ken Kearsley dissenting, May 23, to set three public hearings on the city’s proposed long-term development deal with the Malibu Bay Co.

Hearings are set for June 27, June 28 and July 5 or July 6 to define a project for an environmental impact report. The meetings take place in various locations of the city.

The council will then debate the project at its July 10 meeting.

Before public comment, City manager Harry Peacock said hearings were not a referendum on the merits of the agreement, but to define a project for an environmental impact report.

“We will not be approving the development agreement or donation agreement,” said Peacock, noting that copies of the documents were available at City Hall.

“When the council meets July 10, it needs to modify the agreements solely for the purpose of going for environmental review.

“The agreement will go before the Planning Commission in fall or winter, and come back to the council in ordinance form,” Peacock added.

Reacting to comments by resident Candy Clark and Mayor Pro Tem Joan House that sewage standards and legal descriptions were not spelled out in the agreements, Malibu Bay Co. spokesman Dave Reznick said the standards could be added the first week in June. Peacock noted the legal descriptions are being prepared but add little to the agreements.

“This is simply the beginning of the process. There will be many hearings after June,” noted Peacock.

Kearsley and city councilman Jeff Jennings said calls for negotiations with eight other Civic Center landowners before hearings on the Malibu Bay Co. deal could not be accommodated.

Time is of the essence and the opportunity for comprehensive negotiations had been missed with rejection of the Civic Center Specific Plan, said Jennings and Kearsley in response to comments by Malibu Township council president Frank Basso and residents Art London and Daniel Frumkes.

“If this were three years ago, when we talked about the Civic Center Specific Plan, it would have been a lot easier to achieve the goal of coordinated planning,” said Jennings.

‘What we are talking about is not the standard development process, where the city calls all the shots. We are talking about an agreement here,” he said. “We are getting something in return for giving something up. That process requires everything to be subject to negotiation, including timing of the process.”

“One of the disasters in this city was rejection of the Civic Center Specific Plan,” said Kearsley in response to Peacock’s comment that no one could agree on the Civic Center Specific Plan project to be reviewed.