Planning Commission approves Malibu Inn Motel project

This photo illustration captured on Zoom shows how the proposed Malibu Inn Motel would look at its Pacific Coast Highway location. Contributed photo illustration

Commissioner Kraig Hill requested updated data and more research to be done

After a nearly six-hour discussion, the Planning Commission motioned to approve the Malibu Inn Motel project. The project was continued and rescheduled from April 17 due to timing. 

To start off the May 31 meeting, commissioners were asked for disclosures and Commissioner Kraig Hill asked Interim City Attorney Trevor Rusin to clarify commissioners’ participation in having financial interests in projects. 

“It is a voluntary decision if they are where in any reason why they feel like they could not be in partial or that there would be an unacceptable probability of biased in that, or just to avoid any appearance, they are welcomed to recuse themselves,” Rusin said. “But if there were a financial in the political reform act, the recusal would be mandatory.”

Prior to this meeting, the city held a special City Council meeting and provided training on legal requirements and best practices for City Council and Commissions.

The commission moved on to hear the Malibu Inn Motel project presented by the applicant Alexander Hakim. Hakim presented the project and the conditions that were requested by the planning commission to amend and modify.

“We meet the code for parking, no other project has this restriction on the number of employees, we’d like to remove this restriction on the number of employees we can have, we meet the code and there’s no reason why we should be the only establishment to have this restriction,” Hakim said. 

A little over a dozen speakers of locals and nearby residents spoke in support, and some in opposition of the project.

Some speakers shared their concerns, saying, “Motels don’t really do us any good,” while others said it would benefit the city.

“It’s small, it’s smaller than a lot of houses that you approved, it’s in the right zone, it has parking, they mitigated some of the issues, to me it just makes sense,” speaker and former councilmember Mikke Pierson said. 

Malibu Pacific Palisades Malibu Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Officer Barbara Bruderlin spoke in support of the project.

“I think this is a great, very sensible application, it’s beautiful designed, I have a lot of faith in the building department, and I have a lot of faith in the Hakim brothers, who have been great community members,” Bruderlin said. “It’s bring more employment, it’ll offer parking, it supports all the restaurants that are nearby that need the business throughout the year, and I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t have a pool used there, it’s a very sensible sized project, and I’m in full support.”

Hill provided a list of findings and a number of issues he found.

“It would be nice to have a motel, although clearly, this has become a hotel,” he said. “The multiple variances make a mockery of our code in the end.”

Hills said there are potential impacts and missing data in the project and moved to continue a discussion.

“As much as I hate it, we have to do this right,” he said. 

After changes and modifications, the commission passed the motion with a 3-2 vote.