Malibu’s beloved Dick Van Dyke honored at City Council meeting

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Dick Van Dyke and his wife Arlene pose with the proclamation honoring Van Dyke at the Malibu City Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 11. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Planning Commissioner Jeff Jennings recognized for his years of service; council approves LCP amendment

To end the last Malibu City Council meeting of 2023, Malibu’s very own local, Dick Van Dyke, brought smiles to the councilmembers’ faces as he accepted his proclamation from the City of Malibu. 

Mayor Steve Uhring presented Van Dyke with the proclamation and thanked him for bringing joy to families for many years.

“Here in Malibu, he’s beloved despite the fact that he scares children and adults every year with the Halloween display he puts up at his house,” Uhring said. “Most importantly, he has brightened the lives by putting happy smiles in the faces of millions, and I can testify because I am one of the people he has done that for.” 

Van Dyke was accompanied by his family and Malibu residents. Last month, the Malibu City Hall Art Gallery opened a photography exhibit by Laura Johansen with images of the performer and his family. 

“The City Council of the City of Malibu declares Dec. 13, 2023, as the Dick Van Dyke Day, in recognition for his amazing career, numerous contributions to the world of entertainment, and thank him for his dedication to the City of Malibu, Mr. Van Dyke thank you very, very much,” Uhring said. 

Wednesday, Dec. 13, was also Van Dyke’s 98th birthday.

“If I would’ve known I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself,” Van Dyke joked. “I was born in 1925, back when gas was 14 cents a gallon and ice cream was a nickel.”

“I can’t thank you enough, it’s such a great honor,” he said. “I have been here 40 years, about 1948, when I first got married, my wife and I moved out here to a little two-room apartment on the beach; we couldn’t pay the rent — we got thrown out — so this is my revenge.”

The council took a moment to take a photo with Van Dyke and his wife, Arlene, in front of the council stage.

The meeting also honored former Planning Commissioner Jeff Jennings for his service and commitment with a city tile.

“Reluctantly, we let you out of the Planning Commission, but we didn’t let you out of town, so you’re still with us forever, as far as we’re concerned,” Councilmember Doug Stewart said. “Tonight, we are recognizing Jeff Jennings for all the time he volunteered and the exceptional service he has provided for the City of Malibu. Jeff Jennings has served continuously since 2008 when he was first appointed. Jeff has also previously served as a City Councilmember and a mayor, we thank him for his years of service and wish him a happy retirement, although I don’t think you’ll retire.”

Jennings told the council he appreciated the opportunity to serve his city.

“I have said in the past being one of five voices on making a decision is a privilege, and it’s a privilege I’ve appreciated experiencing; it hasn’t all been rough — I got to serve with some dedicated and hard working commissioners, including Mayor Uhring, and I got to know an entire generations of planning staff, so it has been a pleasure,” Jennings said. “I do feel however, it’s time to have some younger people here on the Planning Commission and move forward. Thank you very much for this, I appreciate the honor.”

To read more about Jennings and his years of service, read Judy Abel’s article on the front page. 

The council jumped down the agenda to address amendment Title 17 (Zoning) of the Malibu Municipal Code (MMC) and the Local Coastal Program and Regulations Related to Accessory Dwelling Units. 

The council addressed the difference between an ADU and a Junior ADU size and shared similar concerns on safety and evacuations during a fire.

“I don’t support approving this because I think we have more questions then we do have answers,” Councilmember Bruce Silverstein said. “I don’t think we are in much better position today than we were five years ago, we understand the danger much more than how it was five years ago, and we’re doing what we can to make is safer, but I don’t think people understand how to get out of here better — in fact, I’m not sure there is a better way to get out of here better then there was five years ago — so I don’t buy that as a reason to disregard the safety issue.”

After discussions, Councilmember Paul Grisanti motioned to adopt Resolution No. 23-43 approving LCP Amendment (LCPA) No. 18-002, and Councilmember Marianne Riggins seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-2.

City Attorney Trevor Rusin read the ordinance for the record. City staff said they would be working with the Coastal Commission and would address any modifications or recommendations. The city assumes they would return within a year with those recommendations. To watch the meeting, visit malibucity.org. 

City Manager Steve McClary provided an update on upcoming meetings and agenda items and said the city will have a virtual PCH Taskforce meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 13, with Caltrans and the city’s efforts in making PCH safe. The Malibu Times will have a full story on the meeting in our next print issue and online. To view more on PCH safety, traffic, and enforcement, visit https://www.malibucity.org/pchsafety. 

McClary said they were unable to bring the long-term contract with California Highway Patrol to the City Council meeting but are looking forward to bringing a contract soon. 

“We were hoping to have that ready for you this evening, to have that approved, but we are working through some issues with that, [but we’re] optimistic to bring a contract forward to get the taskforce going, just need to workout some details with the CHP office and I think we can resolve fairly soon,” McClary said.

McClary said the city received an appeal for the Skatepark that was approved by the Planning Commission. The appeal will be addressed at a date to be determined. 

For council updates, Silverstein raised his concerns about the construction on Corral Canyon Road, specifically the left turn. Caltrans has implemented a lane shift on PCH at Corral Canyon Road through spring 2024 for work to convert the culvert at PCH and Corral Canyon Road into a bridge. Two lanes will remain open in each direction, except at night, when there will be intermittent lane closures, with one lane remaining open in each direction. The lane closures will begin in mid-December.

Public Works Director Rob DeBoux said Caltrans evaluated the location and said they would hopefully address the issue.

Sgt. Chris Soderlund provided the latest crime statistics and gave an update on traffic, safety, and enforcement. There was an increase in crimes for parked vehicles. Year to date, there was 421 part one crimes compared to 461, which is a 7.8 percent decrease the same time last year. 

Soderlund mentioned the recent theft that occurred at Sephora on Cross Creek and said they were part of a Romanian theft group and stole over $3,600 worth of cosmetics. The store employee said they reviewed the security cameras and noticed two suspects placing items inside their skirts and leaving without paying. Soderlund said there was a warrant out for their arrest. 

Soderlund said there was a mountain lion sighting behind Malibu Seafood and warned residents to be aware.

Soderlund said they did a ride-along around PCH with Caltrans to see the areas that are most dangerous. Soderlund said they also passed the Corral Canyon construction and said, “Well it’s not on the plan, so we need to look at it,” he said they responded. 

Soderlund said he hired two additional motors and they issued 32 citations since the last meeting. 

In the previous City Council meeting, Silverstein received minimal support to bring back the local emergency addressing PCH safety; he brought back the proposal and hoped the council would support it. 

“We need to have a meeting to consider further actions because the actions that we’re taking are insufficient,” Silverstein said.

Councilmembers said they wanted to hold until the PCH Taskforce meeting on Dec. 13, to make any decisions. 

Uhring reminded the council and the speakers that the fatal incident Oct. 17 that killed four Pepperdine students occurred 55 days ago. 

“Anything and everything we can do, and that includes sitting down and discussing what we can do on our own, is something we should be focusing on because that is our job,” Uhring said.

After a break, the council approved the Code Amendment to Extend Deadlines for Nonconforming In-kind Disaster Rebuild Project.

McClary presented an update of the strategic plan project, workplan, and recruitment within the city. McClary said they are looking into a compensation study as part of the evaluation.

The council was unable to address item 6C, the Road Race Agreement, due to the meeting’s time exceeding 11:30 p.m. With 18 speaker slips, the council moved the item to the next meeting. The item will be the first item addressed in the next meeting. 

The next Malibu City Council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2024. The Malibu Farmers Market will be on the agenda. The meeting was adjourned in memory of noted Malibu architect Carl Volante.