Sunset Jazz Festival approved, but with no alcohol


The Planning Commission approved the Sunset Jazz Festival event, which takes place Saturday, but issued that no alcohol shall be served during or after the event.

The Planning Commission held a special meeting Thursday morning (July 28) to conduct a public hearing for the application after it was revoked.

The Temporary Use Permit (TUP) 22-021 for the event was submitted on June 24 and conditionally approved by the Planning Director on July 6. 

According to the city, on July 21, the TUP was revoked due to a submitted fraudulent ABC license, failure to fulfill one or more conditions of the TUP, and failure to provide truthful or accurate information.

The event is scheduled from 1 to 7 p.m. and is estimated to have around 2,000 attendees. 

Hudson Baxter, the applicant for the permit, appealed the commission’s revocation.

The appeal items included: the appellant did not obtain the ABC license in a fraudulent matter; the appellant did not prepare the ABC license; the appellant notified the city that alcohol will be proposed; and the Malibu Municipal Code (MMC) does not prohibit events without alcohol services.

Commissioner John Mazza asked, since the planning department received the application two days prior, whether the application deadline changed and if there would be a fine rather than revocation.

“At this point, the records laid out that the application was conditionally approved, and then it was revoked,” City Attorney Trevor Rusin said.

Baxter was on the call and his lawyer, Bruce Ishimatsu, submitted the appeal on his behalf.

Ishimatsu said the application that was approved on July 6 was not fraudulent.

Ishimatsu said the cancellation of this event is not in the interest of the city and would result in financial damage if it were to be canceled.

“While Mr. Baxter does bear some responsibility, he has embraced that by agreeing to not sell or serve alcohol at the event,” Ishimatsu said. “The TUP was not obtained by fraud of any kind; in any event, the commission has any noble power to modify or change the issue TUP and should do so by eliminating the sale of alcohol.” 

Ishimatsu said Baxter agreed not to sell alcohol at the event.

Assistant Planning Director Jessica Thompson said while the city did receive the appeal application on July 25, Thompson said she doesn’t recall if the city received an acceptance of conditions affidavit along with the original TUP when it was submitted.

As for materials required for Public Works approval, such as parking and traffic enforcement, Planning Director Richard Mollica said that has not been submitted. Mollica said they’re able to submit the application prior to the event.

Community Service Director Jesse Bobbett said the department has known about the event since the start and said they have everything documented.

“This is definitely not our first event that has been running up against the deadline the entire time and that’s why it was delayed the first time and why we are here now,” Bobbett said. 

Commissioner Jeff Jennings motioned to grant the appeal and approve the TUP with the following conditions, and Commissioner Dennis Smith seconded the motion. The motions passed.

The actions from the meeting include:

“There shall be no alcohol served or sold during, before or after the event.” 2) adding a condition stating, “Applicant shall be responsible for payment of parking taxes unless they are paid by the lessor of the parking.”; 3) adding a condition stating, “By 5:30 p.m. on July 28, 2022 the event website shall have removed all reference to alcohol sales and added a statement noting that no alcohol will be sold or served.”; and 4) adding a condition stating, “All outstanding documents required by the City of Malibu shall be submitted prior to 4:30 p.m. on July 29, 2022.” for the Sunset Jazz Fest.