Planning Commission motions to continue the Malibu Inn Motel until May 31

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Malibu Inn Motel. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Commissioners raised concerns on the length taken at meetings to discuss continued items

The Planning Commission met virtually on Monday and voted close to midnight to continue the Malibu Inn Motel project until May 31. 

The first item addressed was the Coastal Development Permit No. 05-081, which was continued from April 3. Variance Nos. 09-023 and 16-024, and Site Plan Review No. 06-032, an application for the construction of a new single-family residence and associated development. 

Assistant Planning Director Adrian Fernandez and applicant Don Schmitz presented the item to the Planning Commission.

Fernandez recommended the commission to deny the proposed project as conditioned because they failed to demonstrate no other fisible alternatives exist that would increase CEQA buffer and would reduce CEQA impact. 

The commission argued that the staff did not notify the public of an alternative analysis required. Commissioners Skylar Peak motioned to approve the project, but chair John Mazza and Kraig Hill were opposed to approval without including all the alternative analysis.

Peak asked Schmitz if he was able to provide the needed documents, but Schmitz said he was unaware those were needed from city staff.

“I will do whatever is required, but before tonight this is the first that I heard from anyone that the alternative analysis that we did was somehow inadequate,” Schmitz said. “Everything that we submitted was attached to the staff report.” 

Commissioner Jeff Jennings argued that Peak has not had enough experience in the commission, but Peak was confident in the project as presented.

“Let’s get that summary and we can move forward with that decision,” Peak said. “I’m comfortable that I have enough information, I would like to approve the project, I would like to go against staff’s recommendation and make a motion to approve the project.” 

Motion carried 3-2.

The commission moved on to Coastal Development Permit No. 21-009 and Demolition Permit No. 22-015. An application for an interior and exterior remodel, additions to an existing beachfront single-family residence and other associated development.

After a heated discussion, Environmental Sustainability Director Yolanda Bundy answered commissioners’ questions about the height of walls in the project between the neighbors’ property. 

Mazza argued that the project’s roof is being increased in volume.

The commission scheduled to continue this item until May. 

The commission then moved on to the Malibu Inn Motel, but due to timing they voted to continue the item until May 31.

“If we are going to have meetings that are going until 11:30 at night and we’re wasting hours and hours on things that are being talked about in circles, for all of us, it is not productive, it is not productive for our community,” Peak said. “So we need to be diligent on how we’re approaching these things … we have to be sensitive upmost to our staff time. We can’t be taking this long, pushing multiple items to other meetings, time and time again, it’s not fair for everybody.”