My husband was approached by a woman who asked him, “Would you sign my petition to get ball fields in Malibu?” Now we’ve been soccer parents since 1992, and are acutely aware of the lack of playing fields here. Our youngest daughter’s All-Star team is practicing for the state championships right now, and having a terrible time finding practice fields. So, for us, it’s a no-brainer. However, upon reading the form the woman handed him, my husband realized that he’d actually be signing a petition to support a housing development, not to support the purchase of land for ball fields.
We live on Trancas Canyon Road, and we’ve been saying for years that the Bay Company’s Trancas property would be the ideal place for playing fields. It’s close to three of the four public schools, adjacent to an existing commercial center, located on a street with a traffic signal, large enough to accommodate a number of fields and relatively flat. That’s not what this petition is about; it’s about the hillier parcel to the north of the Bay Company property.
Trancas PCH bought that property for a song a few years ago, then tried to revive a long-expired permit granted by the Board of Supervisors in the pre-cityhood days. When that didn’t fly, Trancas PCH sued the City, which caved in to their demands and granted them a permit to build 32 homes on a property zoned for seven. The neighbors complained about this back door deal, and the courts agreed. Now the Trancas PCH is trying to build support for their over-large project by promising to donate some additional land which might be suitable for ball fields. They’ve persuaded parents to get their kids to appear at City Council meetings in their sports uniforms to shill for the developers, and are passing around the misleading petition.
We need more playing fields. But there are lots of good reasons not to put 32 condos on this particular piece of land. What we parents need is a City Council committed to making recreational space for our children a priority. We’ve just spent $25 million on a parcel of land which we’re legally forbidden to actually do anything on. It seems like we can find a better way to provide playing fields than to give in to developers’ demands and shoehorn fields into inappropriate places. I hope parents will think twice before signing this petition.