Coastal threat continues


Malibu’s refusal to subordinate itself to the Coastal Commission’s LCP is one of the agency’s greatest political embarrassments. Now the agency is pressuring L.A. County to adopt the key features of the Malibu LCP in the unincorporated area of the Santa Monica Mountains as a way of backdooring their plan and forcing Malibu to adopt the Coastal Commission LCP in court.

Under the “Grading and Ridgeline Ordinance,” the County wants to require an expensive Conditional Use Permit (CUP) if a homeowner needs to use more than 15,000 square feet of their land, and any activity can be denied. But the real goal of this proposal is to enact the 10,000 square feet area limit the Coastal Commission tried to force on Malibu (the plans are essentially the same since the county’s limit includes a driveway, and the commission’s does not). The grading ordinance goes further by forcing homeowners to donate a “view easement” within 50 feet of any topographical point that any agency calls scenic, thereby codifying the “visual” policies of the commission’s LCP.

The second regulatory threat is the county’s proposal to map the entire Santa Monica Mountains (including the City of Malibu) as “Significant Ecological Area” (or ESHA-lite). The Significant Ecological Area (SEA) Plan is a clever reinvention of the commission’s ESHA designation, which proved to be a legal liability since the Coastal Act prohibits any residential uses in ESHA. Instead, the SEA designation will legally allow you the “minimum economically viable use to avoid a taking” (the very words of the Commission’s LCP) and make it easier for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and State Parks to buy your home site, since it will become nearly worthless.

It is critical for Malibu residents to oppose these ordinances and prevent the commission from imposing view easements and enacting their bogus “fly over” biological mapping in 80 percent of the Santa Monica Mountains. Please go to to view these ordinances, e-mail your opposition to the county, and join the group of Malibuites opposing these ordinances at the L.A. County Planning Commission hearing on May 26.

Anne Hoffman