Planning, Coastal commissions OK Malibu school plan

Malibu High School. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

SMMUSD superintendent Dr. Antonio Shelton attends the Planning Commission meeting to back project

Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Superintendent Dr. Antonio Shelton attended the Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 5 to encourage the commission to approve the Malibu Middle and High School Campus Specific Plan.

“All I’m asking tonight is you continue to support our efforts to ensure that we have a successful completion of this building, and I know that you will continue to do that for us,” Shelton said. “I appreciate all the work that you have done as a commission and it’s nice to hear that we have alum on the stage here and I appreciate what you continue to do.”

The plan includes the construction of a new 36-foot tall, two-story high school building and associated development.

Commissioner Kraig Hill and Vice Chair John Mazza prolonged the meeting with concerns regarding campus lighting, parking lot entrances, and building heights.

The commission reviewed the following conditions before approving the item.

  • Condition 17.b. replacing “residence” with “structure” 
  • Replacing condition 17.e. to state, “All lighting at the MMHS campus shall be minimized, restricted to low intensity features, directed downward and away from ESHA, and shielded using the best available visor technology and pole height and design that minimizes light spill, sky glow, and glare impacts to public views and wildlife to the maximum extent feasible.”
  • Adding condition 17.f. to state, “All outdoor lighting shall be extinguished by 11:00 p.m. or close of campus use, whichever is later, except for security lighting activated by motion sensor which extinguishes ten (10) minutes after activation and lighting at the building entrances and driveway egress points.”
  • Modifying condition 32.a. to state, “During Phase 1 demolition of hardscape within the 100-foot buffer of the downstream area, the habitat restoration plan shall require weed abatement along the upstream, middle, and downstream riparian and upland habitat, broadcast of native seed in the downstream riparian and upland habitat as well as upstream upland habitat, and planting of native stock in the downstream riparian and upland habitat. Bank stability improvements and erosion control would occur in the upstream, middle, and downstream portions of the ESHA during Phase 1, which includes the proposed pedestrian trail and new roadways.”
  • Condition 33, deleting “and monitoring.”
  • Modifying condition 34 to state, “Maintenance and monitoring of the restoration shall commence after installation and continue for five years in each portion of the riparian and upland habitat areas (downstream, middle, and upstream). In any case, the restoration project shall be complete prior to the issuance of certificates of occupancy for any structures approved in the coastal development permit.”

The commission approved deleting condition 46, “The CCC issued CDP discussed the presence of native trees protected under LIP Chapter. Any and all encroachments to any native trees shall be mitigated pursuant to the approved CCC CDP and pursuant to LIP Chapter 5.”

The commission also found the project consistent with the Final Environmental Impact Report.

The commission approved the project 4-0 vote, with Mazza abstaining. 

On Friday, Sept. 8, the California Coastal Commission also addressed and approved the plan with modifications.

The commission shared their gratitude towards the city and school district for their efforts and collaboration in pushing the project forward.

“I also want to thank the city and the school district for work expeditiously with our staff, that was a very disappointing hearing that we had initially, so it’s really encouraging things turned around so quickly,” Coastal Commission Chair Donne Brownsey said. “I really want to show out the school district, the City [of Malibu] and our staff for prioritizing this and bringing it back so quickly.”

The next Planning Commission is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 2.