City Council receives 2023 Annual Housing Element progress report 

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Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Speakers attended the meeting to address the backlog in appeals in the planning department 

To start off the Malibu City Council meeting on Monday, California State Parks presented a Fire Defense Program. District Superintendent of the Angeles State Parks Richard Fink gave a presentation on wildland fire management, policies, fire responsibilities, and permits. 

Fink said it’s the responsibility of the owner/operator to maintain 100 feet of defensible space regardless of property boundaries. 

For more information, residents can contact Environmental Scientist Noa Rishe for a fuel modification request at (310) 699-3951.

The council received a few public speakers concerned about the backlog in appeals in the planning department. One speaker said that they noticed that some projects may take up to nine to 14 months to get through planning to go to the City Council for an appeal and said, “I think we can do a lot better than that. I think that we should do a lot better than that for our residents.” 

City Manager Steve McClary provided an update on traffic, road closures, and upcoming city events. McClary said Caltrans will be conducting an assessment for the upcoming rain to observe if Malibu Canyon is safe from rockslides. McClary said Caltrans will be installing a traffic signal on PCH and Tuna Canyon on Wednesday. 

McClary provided an update on PCH safety and enforcement and said California Highway Patrol issued 321 citations for the month of March, and 80 percent of those were for speeding. So far this year, they have issued 846 citations, 86 percent of those were from speeding. McClary also highlighted the upcoming events to celebrate Earth Month. To read more about the city’s events, read the article on page B2.

Malibu/Lost Hills Sgt. Chris Soderlund provided an update on the traffic, enforcement, and the recent fatalities that occurred last week. 

On March 29, at approximately 06:30 a.m., Dimitri Failla, 32, was struck and killed by a semi-truck on PCH near the intersection of Cross Creek Road. Failla died from blunt force injuries.

Malibu / Lost Hills Station Traffic Investigators, as well as LASD homicide detectives responded to the scene to investigate the cause of this incident and said the incident was a suicide. 

The driver of the semi-truck remained at the scene and was cooperating with detectives. Alcohol, drugs, and speed do not appear to be a factor, according to Soderlund.

“I feel for the family and the driver involved, he was delivering a load of fuel up to the Navy Base in Point Mugu, so he was just driving back,” Soderlund said.

On March 3, Tracy Vancura, 63, of Camarillo, was thrown from her vehicle in Malibu Canyon and found dead at the scene, according to the L.A. Department of Medical Examiner. Her vehicle plunged 150 feet over the side of the mountain road, and she was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead. No other vehicle was involved. The incident is still under investigation. 

On April 4, LASD pulled over three vehicles that were speeding on PCH. Soderlund said the vehicles were traveling 104 miles in a 55-mile zone. The vehicles were impounded for 30 days. 

After council updates, Planning Director Richard Mollica gave a brief update on the 2023 Annual Progress Report Regarding the Implementation of the City’s Housing Element. To view the report, visit malibucity.org/housingelement. 

The council received a report on the Classification and Total Compensation Study Results and the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Topanga Lagoon Restoration Project. 

The meeting ended just before 9 p.m.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for April 22.