EIRs for Civic Center area development behind schedule

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City Planning Director Barry Hogan told the City Council last week that essential Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) to support development agreements for the Civic Center and other Malibu properties are running six to eight weeks behind schedule. Approval of the EIRs by the city planning office is necessary before the City Council can vote to accept the agreements proposed by the Malibu Bay Co. and the Roy Crummer Estate.

The Malibu Bay proposal includes development of Civic Center area property and the Crummer deal would give the city six acres of land adjacent to Bluffs Park on Pacific Coast Highway in exchange for the right to develop 25 acres in an eight-lot, single-family subdivision at the same location. If approved by the City Council, both developments must go to a vote by the electorate.

The council had hoped to have the issue on the April 2002 ballot. But the delay will push the vote back to at least June, if not November.

In the meantime, two councilmembers–Sharon Barovsky and Tom Hasse–face re-election in April. “Putting it off makes it an election issue once again,” said Hasse, who is on record as favoring the development agreements. Changing the council makeup could jeopardize approval of the agreements.

David Resnick of the Malibu Bay Co. said in a later interview that he would not characterize his company’s EIR as late, but that “it’s a big EIR with many studies,” adding that the Malibu Bay Co. “would cooperate with whatever process the city comes up with. We want to make sure it’s an open and complete process.”

Other Quarterly Review items:

  • The Public Works Department said it expects to begin a series of public meetings in the next couple of months on the redesign of Cross Creek Road, expected to cost $800,000.
  • The city is expecting money from the state and county for repair of Corral Canyon Road, now reduced one lane where it was impaired by a landslide.
  • Also underway is a study on the realignment of Zumirez Road.
  • TIER, the city’s new traffic information and emergency radio system is due to go on air at the end of August.
  • The Environmental and Building Safety office reported that in 98 percent of cases, it had met its goal of providing construction inspections within 24 hours. But it cost “considerable overtime expenses.”
  • Environmental and Building Safety also said that in 90 percent of all new projects, it had provided initial plan checks plus geology and environmental health reviews within 10 working days, using some outside contractors.
  • Between April and June there were 337 active open code violation cases on the books, 40 of them new. They include animal noise, building code violations, building without a permit, discharge/drainage, dumping and encroachment. The cases are in various stages of enforcement.
  • The city treasurer reported that a human resources consultant has recommended that the council extend cost of living allowances (COLAs) to all employees equally. As it is now, employees who receive merit pay based on performance assessments receive higher COLAs than employees who do not receive extra merit pay. Consultant Anne Browning McIntosh said many city employees, including some managers, had criticized the present system.

“The COLA, by definition, is not a performance- or merit-based concept, but rather relates to external economic factors,” she said. “Therefore, the application of the COLA at the time of the employee performance evaluation is both unorthodox and effectively not a cost of living adjustment at all.” McIntosh’s report said that “most Malibu employees are being paid somewhere in the middle of the salary ranges” and that they “generally enjoy being in Malibu during their work day. The casual atmosphere at City Hall is appreciated.”

  • City Parks and Recreation Director Paul Adams said his department was looking for a small, temporary site to locate a senior community center built of modules “that could serve for 5 or 10 years in anticipation of a larger, 15,000-foot facility down the road.” Such a facility could depend on approval by voters next November of a $15 million bond issue to buy land and build recreational facilities, or on approval of a Malibu Bay Co. proposal to donate land and money for recreational development at Point Dume, in exchange for development at the Civic Center and other locations.
  • Parks and Recreation also reported that it had conducted 171 community-interest and recreational classes in the fiscal year ending June 30, and had led 33 school or scout group hikes through Charmlee Wilderness Park during the year. It conducted tennis and basketball day camps, science adventure camps, whale watching school trips and lifeguard training classes.