Community members tuned into meeting to voice their concerns on recent events; Sheriff’s captain provides updates
After a month hiatus, residents, safety personnel, and city commissioners attended the City Council meeting on Monday night, Aug. 14, to address their concerns and provided updates on the recent events that occurred in Malibu.
“Mrs. Wan helped provide opportunities for underserved youth to participate in recreation throughout the region,” Skophammer said. “We congratulate the Wan family and thank you for your conservation efforts and dedication to Malibu.”
Wan served on the board of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) from 1996 to 2011 and acted as the chair of the commission twice. She was a member of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and co-founded the Western Alliance for Nature, a land conservancy.
The Jake Kuredjian Citizenship Award is presented annually to recognize those outstanding individuals or groups who give their time and resources to enhance the quality of recreation programs within the Malibu community. Past recipients of this award have demonstrated a commitment and involvement in addressing some aspect of recreation in Malibu, and in doing so demonstrated the highest level of citizenship, making a lasting contribution to the community.
Her husband, Larry Wan, joined the meeting through Zoom to thank the city for the award on behalf of Sara.
“I want to thank the town for recognizing Sara, it means a lot to me,” he said.
Multiple residents spoke, addressing their concerns on the recent fire in Lahaina, Maui.
“It’s a wake-up call for us, and with everything that Malibu is doing, we need to do more, we need to do it immediately,” resident Terry Davis said. “Let’s solidify an evacuation program and let’s rehearse it, let’s institute an educational program, not only for the residents of Malibu that need to be reminded, but for those who come into our community and don’t have a clue. Let’s work as a community to prevent the disaster before we work as a community to sit through the disaster after it’s happened.”
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) ranger Tim Pera attended the meeting through Zoom to provide a report on the traffic and citations around Malibu. Pera said 22 administration citations were issued in the last two months. Ten administration tickets were issued for dogs on the beach and for the possession of alcohol. Twelve administration sites were also issued at Escondido Canyon trails due to off trail use. Pera said no homeless encampments were observed at Malibu Bluff or any other parks.
A resident voiced his concern on overgrown brush between Malibu Bluffs Park and Malibu Canyon Road. As a result of the heavy rain, the brush has overgrown and taken over the path. The resident said he has been trying to contact whoever is responsible for maintaining the brush since May. He reached out to the city but was directed to MRCA but has yet to see it addressed.
“Months and months have gone by and it hasn’t been addressed,” he said. “The last time I addressed this, I was told to show up virtually in this meeting to address it with the City Council to somehow, someway, this lovely path can be made again, so we can enjoy our hike.”
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Uhring said he can contact the public safety liaisons to make sure the property gets cleared.
City Manager Steve McClary provided an update on the summer traffic, Malibu High Project and said they are working with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) and the California Coastal Commission (CCC), to get the project approved.
McClary said they are working on a school safety report and look forward to discussing a summary of the report during the Sept. 11 City Council meeting.
McClary thanked the public speakers for raising their concerns in the Lahaina fires.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the community and all those who were impacted by that horrible disaster,” McClary said. “It’s certainly a reminder for us in Malibu, that we’re definitely not immune to such disasters if we were to face similar conditions.”
McClary said the city will be holding several programs and training sessions in August and September for National Preparedness Month. To see the list of events visit, malibucity.org/civicalerts.
McClary also introduced the city’s new permanent deputy city manager, Alexis Brown.
Malibu/Lost Hills Capt. Jennifer Seetoo attended the City Council meeting for the first time since 2019 and provided a report on fire safety, the ongoing Nobu incident, and the reason for the delay in the Sheriff’s substation.
Seetoo said a similar incident to the July 4, 2023, traffic backup happened at Nobu in 2019.
“This is unacceptable that this would happen again,” Seetoo said. “We immediately made a meeting with Nobu’s managers and had a stern talking, but a talking with going forward and conversation about partnership and about the community and they entered into a contract with the LA County Sheriff’s Department and they signed it last week and it’s now on our fiscals desk to be signed and implemented.”
Seetoo said for two weeks, they will have two parking enforcements and one motor deputy on the weekends and see if additional resources are needed.
“We’re looking forward to a great partnership with Nobu and going forward so this never happens again,” Seetoo said.
Seetoo responded to Mayor Bruce Silverstein’s question on the body found at Malibu Lagoon on July 31 and said there’s no information other than what was reported in the news.
“It is a homicide handle and when investigating a homicide, they keep it really close to them,” Seetoo said. “They hold it close to their vest, and they don’t share a lot of information, so we as a station don’t have much other than what was in the news.”
Sgt. Chris Soderlund provided the sheriff’s report on 2023 crime statistics, the beach team, and their special enforcement deputies for the BGCM Chili Cook-Off in September.
Environmental Sustainability Director Yolanda Bundy presented the Woolsey Fire Fee Waiver Program: Expiration Dates.
The deadline to obtain building permits for those categorized projects is Nov. 8. Homeowners are encouraged to obtain building permits or request an extension. Extensions may be granted by the Planning Commission when the request demonstrates that due to unusual circumstances, the deadline creates an undue hardship.
The 2018 Woolsey Fire destroyed 465 single-family homes in Malibu, this number does not account the multi-families structures.
So far, 355 homes have received planning approval, 263 homes have received permits, and 135 homes have been completed. Eleven are currently under planning review.
Bundy said there are 100 property owners that have not submitted for planning approval. This constitutes 22 percent of the total loss.
“We are projecting that about 25 more homes will be completed in the next two months, and are in the final construction phases,” Bundy said.
To date, the city has waived approximately $5.17 million in project fees associated with the Woolsey Fire. This does not include an additional $800,000 for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing permits for the homes under construction.
Of the 100 unsubmitted projects, 69 original property owners have not started rebuilding. The unsubmitted project fee waivers are estimated to be an additional $2.8 million for an estimated total of $8.77 million.
“City staff has reached out to residents by multiple ways, letters, social media, we have sent over 200 letters to homeowners specifying the emergency of the deadlines,” Bundy said. “Staff are still meeting with those families, that are still under that process, and we are here to continue helping.”
Silverstein motioned to extend the Nov. 8 deadline.
“It just feels wrong to me that it’s going to expire, and those who may actually be the most needy, are going to end up not have the benefit of the program because the 69 who still haven’t put an application of any sort — I know some of them — they’re still struggling, they’re still fighting with Edison, they’re still trying to get the money they need to rebuild their home and because of that I’m less concerned about the city’s budget than I am on the hit those people are suffering and it doesn’t seem fair to me,” Silverstein said. “I’d would like for us to extend it at least one more time. I’d like to get it on the agenda so we can have a formal discussion.”
Council received and filed the item.
City Council approved waiving the facility fees and staffing cost for the Chili Cook-Off event at the Ioki Property from the Malibu Foundation for Youth and Families, DBA Boys & Girls Club of Malibu.
BGCM Director Kasey Earnest spoke during the meeting and thanked the city, public safety personnel, and the community for their ongoing support.
After a break, the council approved to waive the facility use and permit fees for the Malibu Farmers Market at Legacy Park at the request from the Cornucopia Foundation.
The Cornucopia Foundation (Foundation) has served the Malibu community for over 20 years by coordinating the Malibu Farmers Market and providing residents with fresh and healthy food options. The Malibu Farmers Market takes place in the Civic Center area, with over 25 vendors every Sunday.
The Foundation moved the weekly Sunday event to Legacy Park following City Council approval on Nov. 28, 2022. On Jan. 23, 2023, Council approved the Foundation’s fee waiver and permitting request for $22,931, including the facility use of Legacy Park from Jan. 8 through July 2. The foundation paid the application fee for the Temporary Use Permit and facility use fees in July 2023. If council approves the fee waiver, the city will reimburse the Foundation.
Councilmember Doug Stewart motioned to approve the request, but have the foundation come back with structural improvements. Uhring seconded the motion.
“The residents love it, and I think if we can keep it there without spending a lot of money, and make them happy, that’s what we should be doing,” Uhring said.
Councilmember Paul Grisanti abstained, motioned passed 4-0.
The council addressed the Los Angeles County National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Resilience Regional Challenge.
At the request of Mayor Silverstein, authorize the city to partner with Los Angeles County in pursuing the NOAA Climate Resilience Regional Challenge competitive funding opportunity as a co-applicant.
The last item on the agenda was the proposed Settlement Agreement with Cross Creek Ranch Malibu, LLC (CCRM) property.
Silverstein said there are a few issues with the language in the report that he was concerned with.
“I’m not satisfied that the negotiations were completely adequate, I think they were a good start, but I think that we still have some room for improvement,” Silverstein said. “I don’t oppose a settlement, I’m dissatisfied among other things with the limited scope of the release.”
Councilmember Marianne Riggins was uncomfortable with the new language added.
“I don’t really understand why more words make it better, because that’s all I see is more words saying the same thing,” Riggins said. “What’s the benefit of this additional language?”
Silverstein said he hopes to take time to reflect on the entire agreement.
“I think that in our hurry to get this done, did not put much attention into the details that are often put into deals of this magnitude,” Silverstein said.
The council approved the draft settlement. Motioned carried with a 4-1 vote.
To view the agenda with this report visit, malibucity.org/agendacenter.
Meeting adjourned in memory of Annette O’Malley and the residents of Maui and the islands of Hawaii. The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 28.