Parking dilemma for Point Dume Village could turn to park for city

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There is talk of the city buying a lot for another park and to also utilize it for parking for Point Dume Village employees.

By Erica Andrews / Special to The Malibu Times

As the city’s zoning committee turned down the application by the owner of Point Dume Village shopping center to rezone a property from residential to commercial use so he could build a parking lot, talk turned toward the city possibly buying the property to use as a park, and then lease it for parking.

Last week, the city’s Zoning Ordinance Revisions and Code Enforcement Subcommittee (ZORACES) voted 5-0 to deny a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) that would change the zoning of the 9.8-acre lot, which is currently in escrow with Point Dume Village owner Zan Marquis, from residential to commercial. The proposal was to create 30 to 100 new parking spaces at the site, which is located to the north of the Village, across Pacific Coast Highway. Marquis wants additional parking in order to alleviate over burdened parking at the Village, located on Pacific Coast Highway and Heathercliff Road. Although he said he’s disappointed with the ZORACES decision, Marquis said he is still hoping to eventually find a solution to the parking obstacle.

“Our first idea was to use a small portion of this property to alleviate the parking there [at the Village], so if ZORACES doesn’t recommend it we’ll move on to the next step,” Marquis said. “I just haven’t figured out what to do next yet.”

Mayor Jefferson Wager said if the zoning change were approved it could have taken years to go though the oversight of the Coastal Commission.

“Knowing that it would not be a favorable outcome, we declined the new property owner’s wishes to change that to commercial use,” Mayor Wagner said. “We would have had to do that through the entire city. You can’t pick one particular piece and rezone it for commercial use.”

Marquis said employees of the Village park on city and residential streets to allow for customer parking availability. The proposed change would have allowed Marquis the ability to permit employees to park in this new lot. However, since ZORACES declined his parking proposal, Marquis will have to consider other alternatives.

Other options to curtail these problems could include selling the property across from Point Dume Village to the city. The city then could turn the property into a light use park, providing Marquis with a lease for parking. Another option mentioned by Sibert would be to create double-deck parking in the existing lot at the Village.

“I’m sympathetic to Marquis,” Sibert said. “I wish I could find a simple way for him to add additional parking, but I don’t want to start opening up the whole idea of changing residential zoning to commercial just to accommodate a shopping center.”

In 2005, Marquis bought Point Dume Village and caused a bit of a stir when he did not renew longtime local haunt Dume Room’s lease. He also replaced Cooke’s Family Market with Pavilions, which is now under a 20-year lease. Presently, there are 180 parking spaces on site to serve 23 tenants and Marquis would like to add more of each one. His goal is to put in an additional cafe or retail store, which in turn requires more parking spaces.

The current stores at Point Dume Village include a grocery store, two banks, several restaurants, retail stores and offices.

Although the main reason the CUP was not approved was due to zoning issues, other possible problems were also considered, which included negative impact to traffic and safety on Pacific Coast Highway.

“If you have people parking over there and they’re walking across that part of PCH where you’ve had several fatalities and a number of accidents, we’d have to literally modify the signal and change the intersection,” Mayor Pro Tem John Sibert said. “There would be a number of things to work with Caltrans on. One of the problems is when you start to do something like that, everything is connected to everything. So there were a number of considerations.”