Malibu opposes county proposal to allow camping in sensitive habitat areas

The Malibu City Council sent a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors opposing the county’s proposed Local Coastal Program (LCP) amendment that would allow camping in Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA), including in the Malibu area of the Santa Monica Mountains. The letter stamped on April 15, is available to view on the city’s website.  

Allowing camping in ESHA in the Malibu area could create wildfire risks as well as potential wildfire evacuation challenges, and environmental threats to the community. The City Council previously sent a letter for a public hearing on this subject in 2019. 

On April 19, at 9:30 a.m., the Board of Supervisors considered the California Coastal Commission’s (CCC) suggested modifications to the county’s LCP amendment for low impact campgrounds. Malibu Mayor Paul Grisanti spoke during the meeting to oppose the modifications.

The letter from the City Council requests that the Board of Supervisors oppose the modifications, including the removal of the fire safety and environmental protection measures (no camping on Red Flag fire condition days, daily campsite inspections, no cooking facilities, and 100-foot ESHA setbacks) added by the board in the 2019 version of the LCP amendment. 

“The City is supportive of public access and recreation in the Santa Monica mountains, including camping in appropriate locations that are suitable safe zones and with supervision, as with Malibu Creek State Park and Leo Carrillo State campgrounds,” the letter from the City Council states. “Malibu is downwind of and on the receiving end of any brush fires in the Santa Monica mountains like the Woolsey Fire, which destroyed 1,600 homes, 480 of which were in the City of Malibu. Our residents are concerned about any type of trail camping and camping in smaller, unsupervised remote locations than the ones mentioned above.”

“We have expressed our opposition to that type of camping in the past. If there are going to be these types of activities in the Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA), we support the County’s 2019 ordinance and feel that the County’s well-conceived protective control measures are appropriate,” the letter continues. “The staff report for the Board’s hearing states that the (Coastal) Commission suggested only two modifications to the County’s protective provisions. There are far more than two and we respectfully request that you consider each and reject them all.” 

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If the Board of Supervisors adopts the modifications, its actions will be reported to the CCC for final certification. For more information about the proposal, see the CCC staff report item W11a, at www.coastal.ca/meetings/agenda.  

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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