Residents, Little League board members speak in favor of amending LCP for the Snack Shack

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To start off the Malibu City Council meeting on Monday, Feb 27, Public Works Director Rob DeBoux provided an update on the FEMA floodplain map. 

The FEMA National Flood Insurance Program provides subsidized insurance, requires the city to follow FEMA requirements, determine insurance rates, and revise maps every five to eight years. 

In December 2011, FEMA started the process of revising the flood maps and used data and coastal engineering analysis. In 2017, FEMA submitted a draft of the revised flood maps to the City of Malibu. In April 2021, FEMA concluded all of its findings and adopted its new flood maps. In November 2017, the City of Malibu sent an appeal claiming that FEMA did not provide the proper analysis on 14 areas in Malibu and requested for additional analysis to be conducted. In February 2023, FEMA approved the city’s revised analysis. DeBoux presented some of the 14 flood map revisions. The list is available on the city’s website. 

During the public comment period, the council heard from Parks and Recreation commissioner Alicia Peak and numerous Malibu Little League board members who called to speak about the local coastal program permit needed for the Snack Shack.

“This is not OK and needs to be changed immediately. There is a permit from 1986, the year I was born, for a concession stand that was approved by the Coastal Commission, this is five years prior to cityhood,” Peak said. “More than ever, kids need a space to be kids, to connect away from devices and social media. We need a space where kids can sit down and share a burger. Malibu is a small town, with not many outlets for our youth. The Snack Shack has been an institution before Malibu was even a city.”

The shack last served the park during the spring 2019 Little League season. The shack was operated by parents of the Little League and served hot foods such as hot dogs, pretzels, and burgers. Due to the park being zoned as public open space, zoning restrictions prohibit refreshment stands and other fixed-location outdoor food vending stands. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the 2020 Little League season, the shack went without maintenance and fell into disrepair. Since the return of Malibu Little League and Malibu AYSO to Malibu Bluffs Park, food is now served by food trucks parked on Winter Mesa Drive within the park. 

The first step toward the restoration of the shack would require the commission to inquire about a zoning change through a zoning text amendment (ZTA) and local coastal program amendment (LCPA). This zoning change would reverse the prohibition of sales of food and beverages at the park.

Malibu Little League Vice President John Alfano spoke in support of the Snack Shack and said it is the heart of Little League. 

“We have 270 kids that are now involved, it’s really a sense of community what happens out there in the field and it’s how we met all the families and all the kids, but when what we found out when we go to other cities, we found out that Snack Shacks are where the kids go to hang out,” Alfano said. “That’s where they go to bond, build relationships, they get to flip burgers, sell merchandise, get a real experience of what it’s like to be in a community, and it’s a shame that we don’t have this.” 

Alfano is a father of three and said the Little League participation has increased. His 10-year-old son spoke during public comment.

“I’d really love it if we could have a snack shack because talking to your friends is a great time and it’s fun, and after playing baseball, we can talk about our victory,” the younger Alfano said.

Nearly 20 speakers signed up to speak in support of the Snack Shack. To hear the rest of the speeches, watch the meeting at malibucity.org/virtualmeeting.

Mayor Bruce Silverstein addressed the speakers in support of the Snack Shack.

“Tonight was a great example of great community activism,” Silverstein said. “Thank you all for doing that, you are all heard, and I’m hoping we will be able to do something, not in the long run, but in the immediate future as well as the long run.”

During Assistant City Manager Joseph Toney presentation of the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Second Quarter Financial Report and Mid-Year Budget Amendments, staff requested council direction on Fiscal Year 2022-23 City Council Priorities and Departmental Tasks in the Work Plan. The council voted to add the item to a future agenda. Then the council motioned to add the Snack Shack to the work plan and the item carried.

The council discussed item 3B6, to Authorize the Mayor to execute the Professional Services Agreement with Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc., for Classification and Compensation Study. No additional appropriation is required. Funding for this project is included in the Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 in Account No. 100-7058-5100- 00 (Human Resources – Professional Services). As part of the FY 2022-23 Adopted Budget and Work Plan, the City Council established the priority of conducting a Classification and Compensation Study. The study will address the city’s employee recruitment and retention needs and improve service delivery to the community.

Classification and compensation studies review internal equity (pay relationships between positions) and external competitiveness (pay relationships with labor market competitors). The goal is to ensure that job specifications are appropriate, and compensation is competitive with the market. The last study was completed in 2006, proving the need for this effort is long overdue.

Councilmembers, including Steve Uhring, contributed to the discussion about the difficulties in retaining employees.

Silverstein motioned to approve the item, Grisanti seconded the motion. Motion carried. 

The council then passed item 3B7 Pacific Coast Highway Signal Synchronization System Improvements Project. 1) The PCH Signal Synchronization System Improvements Project is a transportation project that was identified in the 2015 PCH Safety Study and approve a contract with GMZ Engineering, Inc in the amount of $9,776,991 for the Pacific Coast Highway Signal Synchronization System Improvements Project Specification No. 2064; 2) Authorize the Public Works Director to approve potential change orders up to $1,900,000; and 3) Authorize the Mayor to execute the Cooperative Agreement Replacement with the State of California for the construction of the project. 

Funding for this agreement is included in the Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-2023. This project is fully funded through Measure R funds administered by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The council moved on to appeal No. 22-007 – Appeal of Planning Commission Resolution No. 22-44, 31113 Bailard Road; Owner: Ellis and Williams Ellis; Appellant: Debra Decray. The matter is an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of CDPWF No. 22-006, VAR Nos. 21-013, 21-014, and 22-008, for an application to reconstruct an existing driveway and construction of new retaining walls to meet fire department access requirements on a Woolsey Fire-affected parcel.

Below is a chronology of the subject property since first noticed for a Planning Commission hearing:

  • On Nov. 15, 2021, the subject item was first before the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission continued the item to a date uncertain in order to address grading quantities;
  • On April 4, 2022, VAR No. 22-008 was added to the project for additional non-exempt grading exceeding 1,000 cubic yards not to exceed 2,130 cubic yards;
  • On June 6, 2022, the Planning Commission continued the subject item to the June 20, 2022, regular Planning Commission meeting;
  • On June 20, 2022, the Planning Commission continued the subject application to a date uncertain;
  • On July 18, 2022, the Planning Commission continued the subject item to the Aug. 1, 2022, regular Planning Commission meeting; and
  • On Aug. 1, 2022, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on the item and approved the project in a 3-2 vote.

On Aug. 11, 2022, the adjacent neighbor at 31121 Bailard Road, Debra Decray, filed a timely appeal application with the city. The appellant contends that the variances are excessive and the need for the variances can be avoided or minimized if the original Fire Department parking/hammerhead turnaround area continues to be utilized. Council approved the project, motion carried 4-1. 

Toney then presented item 6D for the request for a proposal for contract grant writer service. 

By consensus at the Jan. 9 City Council regular meeting, the council agreed with Councilmember Marianne Riggins’ suggestion to bring back an item for the council to consider whether the city should contract with a grant writer. The city has previously used grant consultants, but the use ended in 2017. Staff recommends the council also consider making the agreement effective July 1, and including the cost in the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget, which would negate the need to have the item go to the Administration and Finance Subcommittee for individual consideration prior to being presented to the City Council.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for March 13.