Ramirez residents to appeal

It’s not over yet according to neighbors along Ramirez Canyon Road. Mindy Sheps, chairwoman of the Ramirez Canyon Preservation Trust, said the group will file an appeal before Christmas in the hopes of reversing the recent Superior Court ruling that permits the Streisand Center to continue functioning as a facility for catered events. “The judge’s ruling did not address the overburdening of Ramirez Canyon Road by the conservancy, the continuing trespass by the conservancy or the nuisance caused by the conservancy’s overuse of Ramirez Canyon Road,” Sheps said.

Last month the neighbors attempted to get a court ruling to stop the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which operates the Streisand Center, from continuing to hold crowd-gathering events that reportedly cause congestion and a potential traffic hazard to the neighborhood. Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg, after hearing arguments for both sides, re-asserted the essential content of his tentative ruling, finding sovereign immunity on behalf of the conservancy. While the ruling states the conservancy is not subject to local governmental restriction, Sheps pointed out, “We still maintain that since catering should not be considered a governmental function, that the commercial activities of the conservancy must be subject to local zoning.”

The neighborhood group says the conservancy is conducting commercial activity rather than its assigned environmental programs at the center. The conservancy says the alleged commercial activity is in actuality a function of fund raising and no different than what takes place at the Adamson House further down PCH. Sheps claims there is a difference. “Guests have access off of PCH to the Adamson House,” Sheps said, “and these guests, therefore, do not cause a burden on a small private road and a private community.”

The neighbors have been in an ongoing battle to stop activities at the center practically since it was first given to the state by Barbra Streisand nearly five years ago. Sheps said the group would not be so determined to keep the issues alive if the conservancy could offer some alternate route into the center, which sits at the back end of the road.

Until then, there may be no end in sight to the neighborhood’s attempt to alleviate the situation.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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