Council Vetoes League Play at Trancas
• Residents Make Case against P&R Panel Recommendation
BY BILL KOENEKER
BY BILL KOENEKER
It took the Malibu City Council this week about 10 minutes to approve the final version of a $30 million budget, but took over two hours to decide that league play should be banned at the proposed Trancas Canyon Park.
To be fair, there was no controversy over the budget, but a standing room only audience in council chambers attested to the importance west Malibu residents place on how the park is developed.
Homeowner association presidents spoke, former and current parks and recreation commissioners had their say, soccer moms talked to the council and neighbors vented.
At one point, a speaker asked those who favor restrictions on the sports field planned on the 13-acre property, to stand to show their support for the ban. Nearly the entire audience rose.
Council members said they have been bombarded for weeks with attempts to sway their vote on Trancas Canyon Park.
Now it was time for the five council members to tell the public where they stand.
Councilmember Andy Stern reminded those asserting the city has spent too much money on parks without ball fields that the “last acquisition was the Bluffs Park at about the time it appeared those ball fields would be lost.
“We have had eight to 10 public meetings and have consistently said and the public has consistently said, I believe, no league play. You have got to be able to rely on our word. I am 10,000 percent with you. I am against any league play at this park,” he said, to thunderous applause.
New Councilmember John Sibert said he favored the restriction. “As much as I can appreciate league play, it is kind of nice to have a place for free-range children. It is not a park just for Malibu West residents. The dog park is a pretty good idea. I think this is a pretty good plan without league play,” he said.
Councilmember Sharon Barovsky said she reminds folks that the city must meet the recreational needs of members of the community with different interests.
“The thing that bothers me. The parks and recreation department addressed all recreational needs, including seniors. The big hue and cry was a dog park. There were 700 signatures. Senior citizens are going to use this park. It is not just all about ball fields,” she added.
Councilmember Jefferson Wagner said the issue had pitted neighbors and friends against each other. He said it was important to get the neighborhood’s endorsement. “Plan B gets my vote” he said, referring to a previous workshop plan that included the restriction.
Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich, who ultimately voted for the restriction, said she had voted against it on previous occasions. She talked mostly about the council not knowing what will be needed in the future and did not want to curtail the option of league play if it is needed.
“In two years, two people won’t be on this council. In two years we can revisit this issue. In two years we can get people who support [league play],” she said.
The mayor tried to offer a motion that supported Plan B, but with conditions such as more research and further study to determine another design for the road to the 60-plus parking lot and a timeline for revisiting the plans. There were no takers.