City Council votes to move forward with temporary day-use impound yard

During the City Council meeting on Monday night, residents raised their concerns with the temporary day-use impound yard at Heathercliff, the 75-foot replacement tower at Santa Monica College and the city’s ability to retain staff and work remotely. 

Staff have received concerns from community members about a newly constructed antenna tower for Santa College in the Civic Center area. The 75-foot replacement tower was built in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, which require lights and colors, since it is adjacent to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helipad. 

According to the City of Malibu website, the new tower is a replacement of the tower that was previously on the site, and was approved as part of the Santa Monica-College Campus project. During construction, the original 70 feet tall tower was replaced with a temporary tower. The project approval (City Council Resolution No. 16-13), site plan, and renderings are available on the website.  

The 75-foot replacement tower was built in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, which require lights and colors, since it is adjacent to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helipad. Photo by Samantha Bravo.

Acting Captain Joseph Fender responded to the comments about the antenna tower and said if the community has any concerns with its “aesthetic” to reach out to him, but said it is needed to send out and receive signals. 

“I don’t know how aesthetically it looks to the City of Malibu, but if there are some complaints or concerns, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know,” Fender said. “I’m willing to work with the community if we could do so and try to make them happy with the product we’re providing… it’s difficult, they have to be big enough where we can send the signal out.” 

Captain Chad Watters provided an update on the speeding, racing, and citations and Councilmember Steve Uhring wanted to recognize and acknowledge the sheriff’s department, saying he has been seeing improvements with speeding, traffic and enforcement. 

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Temporary day-use impound yard for the summer at Heathercliff Rd

Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas presented the temporary day-use impound yard at Heathercliff and said the site would reduce the amount of time deputies need to wait for a tow truck, increase the number of cars that can be towed and the location would protect public safety and neighborhoods that are being impacted. 

While residents shared their concerns with the location and worries about the location becoming permanent, city officials have made their decision to use Heathercliff as a temporary day-use impound yard for the summer, reminding the public about the urgency of the issue. Photo by Samantha Bravo.

Dueñas said the cars would be impounded for a day, and stay approximately until 5 p.m. If not claimed, vehicles are transferred to the out-of-town location at the end of the day. No vehicles would be stored at the Malibu location overnight. 

While parking tickets and signage alone are not enough to discourage people from parking illegally, visitors continue to park illegally to more easily access the many public areas in the city or because other parking is not available. This frequently creates public safety hazards and negatively impacts residents and neighborhoods at large, and also has the potential to impact the ability of emergency responders.

The ability to tow vehicles that are parked illegally in marked tow-away zones is critically important to manage illegal parking and public safety throughout the city. 

The Public Safety Commission has explored multiple options and potential locations in Malibu for a temporary impound yard. 

Potential locations that have been explored in the past include:

• Malibu High School upper parking lot

• The City-owned property at Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and Heathercliff

• City Hall parking lot

• The Malibu Equestrian Park

• The Los Angeles County-owned circular area at the entrance to Zuma Beach at Busch Drive and PCH

By creating a day-use impound yard within the city, the number of vehicles that can be towed is increased since tow trucks do not have to travel to Thousand Oaks to transfer the vehicle to their permanent impound yard. 

While residents shared their concerns with the location and worries about the location becoming permanent, city officials have made their decision to use Heathercliff as a temporary day-use impound yard for the summer, reminding the public about the urgency of the issue. 

“Just for this urgent temporary moment something’s got to be done; we need an in-town solution,” Public Works Commission Chair Wade Major said during public comment. “We need a permanent solution and I don’t think it should be Heathercliff. I agree with that; we really need to do something quickly and urgently for this summer or it’s going to be a problem like we’ve never seen before. If this is not the perfect solution, then we need one really, really quick.”

The department stated the Heathercliff location would be a pilot and Pierson suggested Oct. 1, to come back to the item to explore other options. Council voted 5-3 to bring back the item.

“I think this is the best of the options that are available to us,” Mayor Paul Grisanti said. “I’m very much in favor of going ahead with this and I think we should give it a chance to succeed.”

Parks & Recreation Commission Appointee

On the March. 14 City Council meeting, Pierson was sceduled to make his appointee to the Parks and Recreation Commission. He motioned to move the item to the March 28 meeting and during that meeting, Pierson announced his decision to remove Georgia Goldfarb and announced his new appointee Cayley Jenner.  

During the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting on April. 19, Community Service Director Jesse Bobbett announced commissioner Judy Villablanca’s departure after six years on the commission. 

In a phone interview with Villablanca on Wednesday April 27, she said she decided to step down and give the position to Goldfarb. Pierson stated he has been trying to get in contact with Goldfarb but said she has been unresponsive.

Goldfarb has been attending the City Council meetings and speaking during the public comments, asking to remain on the commission. 

In an email to The Malibu Times, Goldfarb was asked if she has tried to get in contact with Pierson.

“He left a message for me on 3.7 (March 7) to discuss something – I do not know what he wished to discuss – if I wished to,” Goldfarb said in the email.

During the City Council meeting on Monday. April, 25, Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Silverstein appointed Goldfarb to take the place of long-time commissioner Villablanca on the commission.

The next Park & Rec meeting will be held on May 17, in person at the Malibu City Hall Multipurpose Room. 

In-person meetings

Residents raised concerns on the council’s decision to return to in-person meetings on May 9, however, council is in favor of returning to in-person for the May 9 meeting and still provide participants the ability to join virtually. 

City Clerk Kelsey Pettijohn said if the council is considering making the May 9 meeting hybrid, they would need time to develop new language in the agenda and provide the public with a notice in advance about the change. Interim City Manager Steve McClary said the shortage of staff has been an issue, and said they would need to add one more tech staff member to function meetings. 

Grisanti suggests starting meetings earlier and keeping council member comments shorter to prevent meetings from ending late. 

Council voted to return back to virtual meetings after the May 9 meeting due to COVID-19 concerns and convenience. Council is also continuing to monitor the pandemic. The meetings will still be published on the youtube channel. 

To watch the City Council meeting and read the agenda, visit malibucity.org/virtualmeetings.

The story has been updated from what was printed to include further information. 

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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