Planning Commissioner Jeff Jennings acknowledged for years of service

Planning Commissioner Jeff Jennings acknowledged for years of service. Screen shot photo of meeting.

Meeting adjourned in memory of Malibu’s first mayor, Walt Keller, who passed away on Oct. 13 at age 93

The Planning Commission and Department thanked Jeff Jennings for his dedication and term serving on the Planning Commission, as Monday night was his last meeting.  

Jennings served on the Malibu City Council from 1994-98 and 2000-08, including several rotations as mayor. For years, he’s also served on the Malibu Planning Commission as vice chair and maintains the private practice law office of Jennings and Associate.

Mayor Pro Tem Doug Stewart thanked Jennings for his dedication to the community. 

“There are few, if any residents in Malibu who have volunteered more, worked harder, or have been more dedicated to the betterment of our Malibu than Jeff,” Stewart said. “So Jeff, we will never be able to replace you, and all who follow you will hopefully try to emulate your wisdom, insight, and diplomacy.”

Planning Commissioner Dennis Smith also acknowledged and thanked Jennings for his years of service and guidance. 

“I’m truly going to miss you, you bring so much to this community, both you and Kris [Jennings wife],” Smith said. “I want to say thank you in my short term of 14 years, but to have this opportunity to be next to you, I truly appreciate it and all the best to you and the best to Kris.”

Planning Commissioner Kraig Hill started his commissioner comments by addressing the Ann M. Ravel letter, which alleged potential conflict-of-interest issues with his fellow Commissioners Skylar Peak and Dennis Robert Smith, but was told that the City Council is currently addressing the situation.

Hill moved on to thank Jennings for his time on the commission. 

“We will miss your legal expertise here and your institutional memory, and you occasionally laugh and my occasional jokes, and I’ll miss that too,” Hill said. 

Hill also said there is a discussion about naming Charmlee Wilderness Park after Walt and Lucile Keller.

“That sounds like a good idea, I think it’s worth talking to Lucile and seeing what her wishes are,” Hill said. 

Malibu’s first mayor, Walt Keller, passed away on Oct. 13 after a long illness. He was 93 years old. The commission meeting also adjourned in memory of Keller. ​

Vice Chair John Mazza agreed with Hill on the Ann Ravel letter and issue, and said he wished City Council held an open session vs. a closed session with the legal council on the anticipated litigation. 

Mazza also acknowledged Keller and said he was “truly the father of Malibu.”

“His main goal was to preserve a unique place like Malibu, not to make money, not to make shopping centers, not to add hotels, not to have short-term rentals, he went hiking practically every day on the trails around Malibu and he enjoyed what Malibu used to be, we still have some of that left in West Malibu, but he was the kind of leader that got things done by persistence,” Mazza said. “It takes work and it takes people like Walt to preserve a place like Malibu because there is no place left on the coastal California that has our weather, our ambiance, and our rural nature as it used to be. “

Jennings thanked the commission and community for their comments.

“The ability to be one of the five people having a voice and making a decision is a real privilege, and I appreciate the privilege; thank the people who have given me the opportunity to have that privilege, and I thank the staff,” Jennings said. 

The commission moved on to address and approve the “Extend Deadlines for Nonconforming In-kind Disaster Rebuild Projects” item, which will add three years to the deadline to initiate the planning application process and obtain building permits to rebuild a nonconforming structure that was damaged or destroyed in the Woolsey Fire and finding the action exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.

After discussing the landscaping, width, and height, the Coastal Development Permit Amendment No. 20-017, the installation of landscaping in the city’s public right-of-way to visually screen the recently approved water tank at 5723 Busch Drive was carried with a 4-1 vote.

On July 20, 2020, the Planning Commission adopted Resolution 20-23, approving CDP No. 13-040 for the replacement of a public water tank and associated development. The application originally included landscaping in the public ROW to replace existing landscaping. However, a few months before the hearing, the applicant, the Los Angeles County Waterworks District No. 29 (WD29), removed the proposed landscaping from the scope of work. 

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The meeting adjourned in memory of Keller.

The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Nov. 6.