Planners to review zoning, budget priorities at Saturday public workshop

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The Malibu Planning Commission, under the gun to come up with budget priorities by the end of the month, and hearing only one speaker during public comment at Monday’s meeting, postponed deciding on project priorities until a Saturday meeting on the zoning ordinance.

Saturday’s public workshop, noticed as a “comprehensive update” on the zoning ordinance, is scheduled for 10 a.m. at City Hall. Planners have been under pressure for months to finalize the “interim” ordinance. It has been under review for grammar and consistency between standards, said Associate Planner Drew Purvis in an interview after the meeting.

At the same time, the commission must tell City Manager Harry Peacock by Jan. 28 what it would like to see the city accomplish in the next two fiscal years, ending June 30, 2002.

Monday’s speaker, Carol Bird, said she would like to see a policy on fencing and landscaping for vacant land under half an acre. A loophole in the zoning ordinance allowed a neighbor to block her views, Bird said.

Bird, who owns a vacant lot on Broad Beach Road, claims her neighbor first placed boxed specimen trees and then purchased an immediately adjacent parcel and built a six-foot solid fence. “I have no view at all,” she said.

Bird sees a gap between the city’s General Plan and its Interim Zoning Ordinance. The plan refers to a fair balance between the rights of privacy and unreasonable loss of public and private views, she said. The ordinance appears to permit solid fencing on property less than half acre regardless of any visual impacts on adjacent property.

Other items on the wish list of the four planning commissioners at the meeting Monday were as follows:

Chairman Ken Kearsley asked for computer assisted design to help the city prepare a geographic information mapping system.

According to Purvis, the mapping system is a high priority of the entire city staff. It would map boundaries of environmentally sensitive areas, archeological sites, landslides, zoning and flooding.

Vice Chair Ed Lipnick asked for the Local Coastal Plan (LCP).

Andrew Stern asked for the Zoning Ordinance, LCP and geographic mapping system.

Charleen Kabrin would like consideration of basements separate from the hillside ordinance.

In other business in the lightning-fast, half-hour meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the grading variance requested by Jeff Green in building a beachfront home on Malibu Road. The variance was needed so Green could install an “alternative” sand filtration septic system as far away from the ocean as feasible. Commissioners, who had already heard a staff report at last month’s meeting, were effusive in their praise of the plans. “It is an exemplary project, particularly since it pushes the bulkhead towards the road like the Coastal Commission wants,” said Kearsley. Said Stern, “I hope it would be approved, in light of Third World conditions reported in other parts of the city.”