Planning Commission approves four-lot coastal development on Trancas Canyon Road

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The Malibu Planning Commission returns to City Council Chambers, marking a milestone after the pandemic hiatus. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Commission was unable to address the historic La Salsa Restaurant due to timing 

The Malibu Planning Commission returned to the City Council Chambers on Monday, July 17, for the first time since the pandemic. The commission addressed the Malibu Inn Motel, adopted a wastewater treatment system, and approved a Coastal Development permit at Trancas Canyon Road. The commission was unable to address the historic La Salsa Restaurant due to timing of the meeting. 

During commissioner comments, concerns with traffic on the Fourth of July near Nobu, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) Lechuza Beach signage removal, and the planning commissioner stipend, were raised by each commissioner. 

Vice Chair John Mazza briefly mentioned the Santa Monica College antenna tower and said, “From what understand it’s 16 feet from what we approved.” 

Commissioner Jeff Jennings said the tower did require a lot of variances, but he doesn’t remember discussing the height of the tower. 

“According to John [Mazza] it was in the resolution, so I guess we did,” Jennings said. 

Planning Director Richard Mollica responded to a few questions from the commissioners and said they will follow up with the proper permit requirement for the MRCA signage and will report back after meeting with Nobu and other agencies. 

“The city’s code enforcement staff has issued them a citation, and we’ve initiated this meeting because we are looking for a resolution,” Mollica said. 

The commission moved on to the Malibu Inn Motel and adopted the coastal development with a 3-1 vote with Mazza abstaining.

The commission moved on to Administrative Coastal Development Permit for Woolsey Fire No. 22-005: An application to allow for the construction of a new 5,643 square foot, one-story single-family residence with a 999-square-foot basement, 729-square-foot attached garage and associated development including the construction of a new 900-square-foot detached second unit for a total development square footage of 7,272 square feet, a new swimming pool and spa, reconfiguration of the existing driveway hardscaping, landscaping, grading, and installation of a new onsite wastewater treatment system on a Woolsey Fire affected parcel.

The motion carried with a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Kraig Hill abstaining.

The commission adopted the coastal development permit No. 21-050 and Code Violation No. 21-127. An application to replace a failing onsite wastewater treatment system, the extension of an existing soldier pile wall, and associated development. 

The last item, and most discussed, item was Coastal Development Permit No. 19-091 and Tentative Parcel Map No. 20-001, an application for a tentative parcel map to subdivide two lots into a total of four lots.

On Dec. 26, 2019, Schmitz and Associates, Inc., submitted an application on behalf of Third Point Land Company, LLC for the subdivision of two existing legal lots into four legal lots. The subject application was routed to the city biologist, city environmental health administrator, city geotechnical consultant reviewers, Los Angeles County Waterworks District No. 29 (WD29), and the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) for conformance review to the City of Malibu Local Coastal Program (LCP) and the Malibu Municipal Code (MMC).

The proposed project involves the subdivision of the two existing undeveloped legal lots into four legal lots. LCP Local Implementation Plan (LIP) Chapter 15 requires that the applicant demonstrate that each of the proposed lots can be developed in compliance with the LCP. This includes demonstrating that future development is feasible from a geological and environmental health perspective. However, no physical development is currently proposed as part of the TPM.

The subject property consists of two undeveloped lots located within the Malibu West neighborhood. Lot 1 and lot 2 are currently vacant with a lot size of 10.3 acres and 14.6 acres, respectively. Combined, the undeveloped lots comprise a total size of approximately 24.9 acres in gross lot area.

The subject property is located within the Malibu West neighborhood, and the proposed project is consistent with the General Plan description of other homes in the Malibu West neighborhood. Most of the residences on Trancas Canyon Road consist of one-story, single-family residences on flag lots. Additionally, existing commercial uses are located to the east of the subject properties.

While no physical development is proposed as part of the proposed project, the plans include conceptual designs to demonstrate the configuration of the private driveway and the potential location of the four single-family residences and related improvements (i.e., driveway, swimming pools, and a tennis court).

The proposed scope of work is to request to subdivide two existing parcels into four legal lots.

The following discretionary requests are to divide two existing parcels into four legal lots.

“This is an extremely rare piece of property for Malibu; it’s extremely flat, it doesn’t have any sense of habitat, it has been cleared for many, many decades,” applicant Don Schmitz said. “If there ever was a place for subdivision [that] was appropriate, we believe that this is a property that meets that test.”

After two hours of deliberation, the commission motioned to approve the proposed subdivision of the two existing undeveloped legal lots into four legal lots. The motion carried with a 3-2 vote.

Due to the timing of the meeting, the commission was unable to address the La Salsa Restaurant, an application for the conversion of existing multi-family apartment buildings to a motel. The item was continued to the Aug. 7 meeting.