City Council takes no action on Sea View Hotel project

Speaker Jefferson "Zuma Jay" Wagner speaks during the City Council meeting on Monday, April 24, on the Sea View Motel project. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Council also discussed the LCP for the Malibu Bluffs Snack Shack 

The Malibu City Council meeting was a bit different this month, with three of the five council members in-person; Mayor Bruce Silverstein and Councilmember Marianne Riggins were participating through Zoom due to illness.

To start off the meeting on Monday, Parks and Recreation Chair Dane Skophammer thanked the city council and city staff for prioritizing the Malibu Bluffs Park Snack Shack. 

“City staff have been so good about working hard on solutions, there has been a lot of changes still, but we’re coming up with solutions and they’re getting it done,” Skophammer said.

Last month, the council voted to pursue a plan to buy a food-service trailer for immediate, temporary use at the park, demolish the existing Snack Shack and draw up plans for a permanent replacement.

The Community Service Department and Parks and Recreation commissioners, Alicia Peak and Skophammer, have been working with the building department to re-floor the existing Snack Shack structure to use as storage.

Skophammer said they’re removing the old storage shed this week and bringing in a new container to implement a temporary kitchen inside the container. 

“Theoretically, if everything goes smoothly from here, we’ll have a Snack Shack relatively quickly,” Skophammer said. 

During the City Council meeting on April 13, city staff said the temporary food facility would be implemented by April 22, but according to Acting Community Service Director Kristin Riesgo, the facility did not operate by that date. 

“We are working on an opening date with Malibu Little League,” Riesgo said in an email to The Malibu Times. “I will keep you updated on the progress.”

Riesgo said the removal of the old container will take place this week.

The Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Soderlund attended the meeting, providing an update from the sheriff’s station, parking enforcement, and recent crime.

Soderlund said Volunteers on Patrol Team Leader Mark Russo was involved in a traffic collision near Trancas Country Market while responding to another traffic collision.

“He had set up his vehcile with the lights on to warn other drivers and due to a couple of rubberneckers, he was rear-ended; fortunately he was wasn’t injured,” Soderlund said.

Soderlund acknowledged Malibu/Lost Hills fingerprint and DNA tech Sharona Kay for an investigation from 2021. Kay processes scenes for evidence and follows up with crime scenes. 

“She found a match with a suspect who was a transient — in this case, the guest house was burglarized and ransacked, a hooded sweatshirt was left behind. She processed the hoodie for DNA, and she got a hit through the interstate code system,” Soderlund said. “No matter how long the case has been pending forward, we are still investigating actively; we don’t forget about them.” 

City Manager Steve McClary updated the council on upcoming events, including the State of the City Address on Wednesday, May 3, and the film screening “21 Miles in Malibu,” on Friday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. at Malibu Bluffs Park. The film is a hybrid of personal stories of loss, the history of a loved place, and a cautionary tale of government indifference and citizen activism. 

For council reports, councilmember Paul Grisanti attended the Santa Monica Malibu ribbon-cutting ceremony and was delighted to see former city managers and council members who worked on that project in the last 20 years.

“It was nice to get to the finish line on something and see it, it’s a very interesting building,” Grisanti said. 

Councilmember Doug Stewart responded to Mark Russo’s incident and was glad he was OK. Stewart mentioned the “21 Miles in Malibu” film next month.

“We have a problem on PCH, so this movie on May 19 is very appropriate,” Stewart said. 

Riggins acknowledged the city staff for clearing the graffiti at Legacy Park. Riggins also encouraged the community to attend the city commission meetings, which include Public Works, Public Safety, Parks and Rec, and the Malibu Arts Commission meetings.

“They are fascinating centers of information that the community can bring to them and they can help that out,” Riggins said. “They’re also discussing a lot of things that are going on in our community and are a great resource for hand contact if you have an issue or a problem within the community that they can help address those things.”

Riggins also attended the SMC ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“[It’s] the celebration of education in our community and it’s so great to have that campus open now for everyone,” she said. 

Riggins addressed the Planning Commission last week and responded to allegations made towards her appointee Planning Commissioner Skylar Peak. 

“I find it very, very disturbing. I am proud to have been able to appoint Skylar to Planning Commission,” she said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a love of our community and environment, and I find it very disappointing that there are attacks against him.” 

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Uhring responded to the recent sign posted at Point Dume Headlands from California State Parks about using the pesticide Round-Up along the walking trail.

“It’s interesting to me that apparently, State Parks does not have any rules against using Round-up, so they can do that, despite the fact that it’s dangerous,” Uhring said. “Sometimes I’m just confused with who these people are and what they’re thinking about because I’ve got [our city staff] that are working on environmental sustainability, and on the other side, I’ve got State Parks poisoning our fields up there. That’s just real strange.”

For new business, Planning Director Richard Mollica presented the Food and Beverage Sales in the Open Space District and said it impacts the Snack Shack.

The recommended action is to 1) Adopt, or provide comment on, the attached draft Council Interpretation regarding food and beverage sales in the Open Space District; 2) Adopt Resolution No. 23-19 initiating a Zone Text Amendment (ZTA) and Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA) to address food and beverage sales in the Open Space zoning district, or provide alternative direction; and 3) If Resolution No. 23-19 is adopted, provide direction to the Planning Commission to schedule a public hearing regarding the ZTA and LCPA and provide a recommendation to the Council whether to approve, modify, or reject the amendment and finding the action exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.

Stewart motioned to approve, and Grisanti seconded the motion to approve the item.

Riggins recommended adopting an LCP interpretation. 

Stewart and Grisanti accepted the friendly amendment for interpretation only. 

Mollica then presented Sea View Hotel Project and provided an update regarding the Local Coastal Program Amendment No. 16-006. 

On Sept. 13, 2021, the council amended its LCP to change the land use and zoning designation of two adjacent commercially developed parcels, from Community Commercial (CC) to Commercial Visitor Serving Two (CV-2) on the LCP Land Use Plan (LUP) Land Use Map and LCP Local Implementation Plan (LIP) Zoning Map. These two parcels together comprise approximately 1.18 acres of land known as the Sea View Hotel Site.

The LIP amendment proposed the creation of a new overlay district (the Sea View Hotel Overlay District) to accommodate the construction of a new 39-room hotel with associated amenities at 22729 and 22741 PCH.

At the September 2021 meeting, the council approved the LCPA and submitted the LCPA application to the CCC on Nov. 15, 2021. The LCPA submittal was deemed complete by CCC staff and filed on March 21, 2022, for a hearing. At its June 2022 CCC meeting, the CCC extended the 90 working-day time limit to act on the LCPA for a period not to exceed one year from the original deadline of July 28, 2022.

Mollica presented the modifications and clarifications of fees paid by the developer required as part of the council-approved LCPA: $800,000 public benefits fee as required by the Development Agreement; and $110,000 low-cost visitor serving in-lieu fee per LIP Section 12.10(B). Additional fees added by the CCC include $800,000 identified for MRCA to develop campgrounds and $250,000 to fund a youth camp.

After an hour of discussion, the council motioned to take no action and give no direction to this staff at this time. Motion carried.