Speakers express frustration with permit requirements for art events at meeting


The Malibu City Council had its regular meeting Monday, Aug. 22, and approved waiving fees for two art events, approved the Local Coastal Program Amendment No. 18-002 and Zoning Text Amendment No. 18-004, and addressed the Malibu Library Set Aside Funds. Councilmember Karen Farrer was absent due to contracting COVID-19. 

To start off the meeting, the council approved waiving the fees of $1,951 from Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore, Inc. for an art show event at Malibu Bluffs Park. The fees go towards facility use fees, staffing costs, and permit fees.

Community Service Director Jesse Bobbett said the event will take place on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Malibu Bluffs Park and will feature 15 to 25 artists throughout the event.

“In appreciation of artwork, Allied Artists is a community service organization that coordinates several art programs each year and promotes the appreciation of the environment through arts and supports the conservation and maintenance of the Santa Monica Mountains national recreation area,” Bobbett said

Bobbett said if the fee waivers are approved, Allied Artists said they would donate up to 15 percent of the event proceeds to the city, which can be used towards their conservation. 

Malibu artist and president of the Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore, Inc., Barbara Freund, spoke during public comment to answer any questions about the item.

“This is the first request from the Allied Artists to host an art event in any city facility or park, so we’re very excited about the opportunity to use Bluffs Park,” Freund said. “And we’re going to donate proceeds specific for preserving and maintaining parks space for whatever the city would like to dedicate it for.”

Councilmember Mikke Pierson shared his support for the event.

“I am absolutely in support, I’m so glad to see art events coming back more I know permit process has been difficult and I appreciate Barbara and everyone hanging in their as we work our way through all this, and I’m excited for this event,” Pierson said. 

Bobbett also presented the request from the Malibu Arts Association to waive facility use fees, staffing costs, and permit fees of $1,495 for an Art Show event at Legacy Park.

Bobbett said the event will take place on Sunday, Sept. 25. Bobbett said due to permit restrictions, this will be the sixth and final event permitted at Legacy Park.

Freund weighed in and said this is the fourth permit event for Legacy Park and shared her frustration with permitting requests.

“I would just like to comment because we’re trying to do everything the way it is supposed to be done and quiet frankly, every time I turn around, there’s yet another roadblock with something new,” she said. “It’s just really, really hard to bring art to Malibu; it’s just been extraordinarily difficult.”

Regarding park permit restrictions, council members Steve Uhring and Pierson shared similar frustrations and asked if they could look into the park permitting limitations.

“This is a fairly unique situation,” Mayor Paul Grisanti said. “There’s no residents within that radius, so I don’t imagine there’s going to be any pushback from anyone on it.”

Council approved Local Coastal Program Amendment No. 18-002 and Zoning Text Amendment No. 18-004 and provided direction to staff on the proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) regulations, including Planning Commission requests for additional studies and referrals related to adopting the draft ADU ordinance and whether to provide additional direction on the content of the ADU ordinance.

Council addressed item 7A, which is the Malibu Library Set Aside Fund for fiscal year 2022-23. Silverstein motioned to rescind the recommendation to the county to make a contribution of $500,000 to the library foundation. Motion carried 4-1.

For item 7B, Silverstein motioned to continue to a date uncertain, Uhring second. Pierson and Grisanti both voted against it. Motion carried.

After Silverstein’s report, five speakers spoke addressing the item, some in support of the Malibu Library Set Aside Funds. Motion failed and the council voted to continue the item.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 12.