Planning Commission, city staff, and public debate Fish and Wildlife concerns 

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Planning Director Richard Mollica presented the public counter and holiday hours

With just four days from the last meeting, the Planning Commission met again on Monday night to continue their regular scheduled meeting.

To start off the meeting, new Chair Kraig Hill made a proposal to not say the Pledge of Allegiance before planning commission meetings. 

“That’s not even a proposal,” Commissioner Dennis Smith said.

“My proposal is that we make it optional, when we have a small gathering we don’t necessarily need to do it, when we have a big group of people, we might say, ‘Hey let’s do the pledge tonight,’” Hill said.

Commissioners Skylar Peak and Drew Leonard voted in favor of saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  

For commissioner comments, Vice Chair John Mazza commented on the two meetings the Planning Commission held in one week. 

The commission had to reschedule their Nov. 20 meeting to Nov. 30 due to a power outage and had to postpone approving projects such as the Permanent Skatepark. 

“I found it extremely hard to be up to date on Planning Commission meeting four days after the last Planning Commission, I hope we don’t do that again, it’s not fair to the applicant,” Mazza said. 

Planning Director Richard Mollica presented the public counter and holiday hours and said City Hall will be closed from Dec. 22 to Jan. 1. 

Available services are code enforcement, building, and safety inspectors, Fire rebuild contract planners, and contract city reviewers (biology, geology, coastal engineering, environmental health). 

Services not available are city staff, building safety and planning online portals, public counters, payment processing, planning and building safety hotlines (phones and emails). 

The Malibu Municipal Code prohibits any construction on city holidays which includes Christmas and New Year’s Day. Residents can subscribe to receive city alerts and check their social media for updates. 

The commission motioned to receive and file Administrative Coastal Development Permit No. 22-045 / 23916 Malibu Knolls Road and correct any typos. 

The commission approved Coastal Development Permit Amendment No. 22-008 – An application to amend Coastal Development Permit No. 16-028 to allow for the construction of a 999-square-foot basement addition to a previously approved 5,984-square-foot, one-story single-family residence.

The commission had a discussion on Coastal Development Permit No. 23-015. An application for a new in-ground pool and decking; Adopt Planning Commission Resolution No. 23-58, determining the California Environmental Quality Act does not apply to the project, and denying Coastal Development Permit No. 23-015 for the construction of a new in-ground pool and decking located within 100 feet of mapped stream and wetland environmentally sensitive habitat area, in the Rural Residential, Two-Acres zoning district located at 6316 Busch Drive.

Peak said the project is not taking place inside the ESHA, it’s taking place outside in what’s called “disturbed ESHA.”

Mollica said that as defined by LA County, the fuel modifications are considered disturbing ESHA, and says the work falls in the buffer area. 

Peak said he’d be comfortable to have a letter from Fish and Wildlife approving the pool. 

Smith motioned to approve the project as it stands. 

“There’s nothing that this pool is doing to affect any part of the environment anywhere along that creek, anywhere along anyone’s property, anywhere; it’s a pool, in the ground, tucked up against the house, a mile in a half away from the stream, and not in the middle of the yard,” Smith said. “I feel like this should be approved, it’s not hurting a thing, not environmentally, not the other neighbors, not anything else, anywhere else.”

With concerns about floods, the commission debated if the application needs approval by Fish and Wildlife. 

“It’s been this city practice that we have considered the buffer areas as ESHA,” Mollica said. “We don’t want things to get appealed, we do our best to try not to have Coastal Commission staff or Coastal Commission appeal our projects as a city, but as I mentioned earlier tonight, we have looked at buffer areas as part of ESHA and treated it the same and allotted the same protections.”

Mollica said they would bring back the application with additional documents. 

“The first thing is that staff needs materials to get to work,” Mollica said. “Once we could deem it complete, bring it back, I don’t see much work here. We would just need to bring you back updated referrals.”

The commission motioned to have a CDP application and a recommendation to obtain a letter from the Fish and Wildlife. The motion carried 4-1.

The commission approved the Coastal Development Permit No. 22-057, an application for a new second unit and onsite wastewater treatment system serving the second unit with square footage change.

The next Planning Commission meeting is on Dec. 18 at the City Council Chambers. The Jan. 2 meeting is canceled. The Commission will resume on Jan. 16, 2024.