‘No more delays’ Permanent Skatepark Approved

Community members, skaters, and Community Service Director Kristin Riesgo and Kate Gallo (far right) gather for a group photo after the Permanent Skatepark was approved at the Planning Commission meeting on Nov. 30. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Kraig Hill to serve as chair, John Mazza to serve as vice chair of the Planning Commission

After nearly 10 years, the Permanent Skatepark at Malibu Bluffs Park is finally underway. The project was addressed and approved at the rescheduled Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, Nov. 30. 

The meeting began with the nomination of chair and vice chair. Commissioner Kraig Hill will serve as chair, and John Mazza will serve as vice chair again.

The meeting was attended by dozens of Malibu locals, including skaters who have been advocating for the permanent skatepark to begin construction.

The project includes the construction of a new 12,500-square-foot permanent skatepark; a two-stall restroom building, 12 feet in height; additional parking areas; two bioretention basins; benches, picnic tables, and sidewalks; landscaping; a crosswalk across winter mesa drive to connect the skatepark parking area to the rest of Malibu Bluffs Park and 3,022 cubic yards of grading. 

In 2019, the City Council approved the use of the Crummer/Case property adjacent to Malibu Bluffs Park as the location for a temporary skate park, and authorized staff to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the design of a 12,500-square-foot permanent skate park on the same property.

The City Council approved the Final Conceptual Design for the Temporary Skate Park on Feb. 24, 2020.

During the Environmental Review Board meeting on Oct. 11, concerns in regards to wildlife, ESHA, and noise complaints were raised, and California Skateparks Principal Designer Jaxon Statzell was unable to answer specific questions regarding the environmental impacts, but attended the Planning Commission meeting last week to answer questions.

Community Service Director Kristin Riesgo said the reason for the delay was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a change in leadership in the Community Service Department. 

After the staff report, over a dozen speakers signed up to thank the city for the temporary skatepark but urged the planning commission to approve the permanent project and request no more delays. 

Mother and skatepark advocate Heather Gardner showed a video made in 2019 where the kids (now in high school) thanked the City of Malibu for building their temporary skatepark.

“As a community, we cannot afford to let developers dictate changes to plans that were meticulously crafted by numerous members of the Malibu community,” Gardner said. “The video highlights the extensive involvement of young skaters in this transformative process, a journey that was inspiring to witness and to be a part of. Let’s unite as a community and finally see the skatepark become a reality.”

Las Flores resident and skate instructor Chris Rodgers attended the meeting to advocate for the permanent skatepark. 

“The temporary park has been awesome, but it’s kind of been a latigo, these kids rip, and they deserve a first point made of concrete and I hope we can say yes tonight and get moving,” Rodgers said. 

Former Mayor Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner showed a City Council meeting from 2020 when the permanent skatepark project discussion began and reminded the commission of the commitment to this park.

“I ask you to watch the video, watch about commitment; that will give you an idea of how long this has been,” Wagner said. “Please approve the park.”

Local skater Finn Murphy has been involved with the project and attended numerous design meetings.

“The temporary skatepark is such a positive force in our community, in Malibu, for kids like myself and for people of all ages. It’s a place where I can practice the sport I love, be creative and meet people of all different backgrounds; however let’s not forget the community members who have been pushing for a community park for years,” Murphy said. “When we began working on this park, I was in fifth grade, when it was approved I was in seventh grade, and now I’m about to graduate high school.”

Speakers alike shared their concerns with having to drive out of town, such as Venice Beach, to use their skate park.

“I just hope that the future generations and current of skateboarders have a place to go,” Murphy said. “I’m asking the Planning Commission to please value all the work that has already been put in and approve the skate park as is.”

Developers Robert Gold and Scott Gillen attended the meeting and continued to raise concerns about noise caused by the skate park.

Former City Councilmember Mikke Pierson was on council at the time the project was discussion and attended the Planning Commission to speak.  

“The kids, just the outpouring of kids, some of them that were speaking, to me, that’s a community, that’s the heart and soul of this community,” Pierson said. 

Twelve-year-old skater Brandon Burchard says he travels outside to compete and advocated for a bigger and better skate park. 

“I’m really grateful for the park that we have right now, but I feel like we’re outgrowing it; we need to skate bigger and better stuff,” Burchard said. 

After discussing concerns about noise and fences, Mazza motioned to approve the project, and Commissioner Skylar Peak seconded the motion. Motioned passed 5-0.

“It’s time and a lot of people worked on it for 20-something years, it’s time to do it, there’s no reason [not to], the staff has done an excellent job on going through all the objections including doing two sound studies, ect.,” Mazza said. “It is time.”