Planning Commission discusses inadequate parking for employees

Insufficient parking on Pacific Coast Highway for restaurants and retail employees was the main topic discussed during the nearly five-hour Planning Commission meeting on Monday, April 4.

To start the meeting, Malibu Film Society Board Vice President John Johannessen asked the panel about moving forward with finding a location for Malibu Film Society events.

The MFS had been holding movie screenings at the Malibu Jewish Center since 2009, but had to stop in 2021 when a complaint from the head of the Malibu Film Festival (which has no connection to MFS) revealed it was a violation of city code.

“We’ve been watching movies in Malibu for 12 years, even the City Council asked what changed?” Johannessen said. “What are we doing to fix this?”

Planning Director Richard Mollica said the issue was not due to a change in policy: It was because the staff was unaware of the events taking place at the Malibu Jewish Center. 

“Once we looked into them, such an event was outside the scope of the conditional use permit that was issued for the Malibu Jewish Center and therefore a temporary use permit would be needed to have the events,” Mollica said. 

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When the events were brought to the Planning Commission’s attention in August 2021, the Malibu Film Society was unable to host events at the Malibu Jewish Center. The center was concerned that the complaint would interfere with the approval of their building permit and terminated the Malibu Film Society’s use of their facility. No other planning commissioner commented on the item.

Subsequent to the City Council meeting on May 9, Mollica said the Planning Commission will meet in person at the Council of Chambers building on May 16. Mollica said they did not vote to allow hybrid meetings.

Aviator Nation tenant’s Steven and Alexander Hakim presented their request to use joint parking with the Malibu Inn to accommodate the new retail tenant space, but would reduce the restaurant service area. The item was continued from the Jan. 11 meeting

Aviator Nation Dreamland is a restaurant and retail establishment located across the Malibu Pier. The parking required for the site is one parking space for every 50 square feet of restaurant service area, and one parking space for every 225 square feet of retail space. As a result of tenant improvements, a portion of the restaurant service area has been converted to retail. The number of offsite spaces required has been reduced to 24. A modified JUPA is proposed as part of the project to reflect the revised number of donor spaces on the project site. Based on the current use allocations, a total of 47 spaces is required — 23 are provided on site. 

After an hour of rebuttal of parking usage and music complaints from neighbors, Commissioner John Mazza motioned to not allow employee parking on PCH, and — to address the MFS issue — modify condition 19 which allows events up to 100 people to require a TUP (Temporary Use Permit) and any off-site parking that requires a valet must be within 300 feet. Spaces off-site cannot be rented to anyone other than the public. A Temporary Use Permit is intended to allow for the short-term placement of activities. The motion failed 2-3. 

Commissioner Jeff Jennings voted no on the motion and said there has not been much concern or complaints to the Malibu Film Society event but asked how they can revisit the item if there were any concerns in the future. Assistant City Attorney Trevor Rusin said they could add conditions such as if the number of violations is reached its max, the number of events is reduced. 

Mazza asked about citing the business for overcrowding parking, and Rusin said it would be difficult to enforce specific parking for the businesses along PCH and therefore unable to cite them for overcrowded parking. Rusin appointed Mollica for conditions on parking. 

Mazza’s motion was re-established and Rusin said all events authorized by condition 19 of resolution 10-59 must be approved by the planning director in advance. A list of events must be put on notice six months in advance and any changes must be presented to the Planning Commission a month in advance. The motion passed 3-2.

The motion will allow joint parking with the Malibu Inn Motel, valet parking along PCH as well as a conditional use permit for events for over 300 people. This creates a concern within the community for a business capacity of 90 people. The establishment can also stay open till midnight during the weeknights and 2 a.m. on weekend days.

To hear all the conditions, watch the Planning Commission meeting on the City of Malibu’s YouTube channel. The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for April 18.

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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