Malibu Says Conservancy Is Sidestepping City on Override
• Attorney Disagrees with Coastal Commission Action
BY BILL KOENEKER
BY BILL KOENEKER
The move to employ what Malibu City Attorney Christi Hogin calls a “tactic” to sidestep the city’s objections to overnight camping and other measures in a Local Coastal Program amendment by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy was facilitated by what Hogin describes as an “extraordinary decision” granted by Peter Douglas, the executive director of the California Coastal Commission.
The city council is scheduled to meet on the matter at its regular meeting next Monday night.
The sometimes scathing comments of the city attorney are contained in a recently released staff report by Hogin that takes aim indirectly at SMMC head Joe Edmiston and Douglas.
In what everyone agrees is a “complicated matter,” the SMMC applied for what is called an override to the city’s LCP amendment that Hogin charges allows the city’s document to be amended as “the conservancy desires and over the city’s objections.”
The SMMC plan calls for overnight camping facilities within park boundaries in Ramirez Canyon Park, Escondido Canyon Park and Corral Canyon Park, comprehensive program for acquiring and improving the Coastal Slope Trail and extensive uses at Ramirez Canyon Park at the SMMC’s headquarters.
Hogin indicated the commission staff informed the city that the conservancy had applied for an LCP override and that the commission staff had made a preliminary determination that the SMMC proposed development is subject to the override procedure.
Hogin said she sent a letter to the CCC staff objecting to the preliminary determination.
The city attorney writes in her report the SMMC has made several attempts to put through a plan sidestepping the municipality, such as “using the Public Works Plan and not an LCP amendment or Coastal Development Plan, the conservancy believed it had charted a course to project approvals that avoided the city almost entirely.”
The city, on the other hand, wants the SMMC to employ the mechanism of an LCP amendment so Malibu “would be able to assume the role reserved in the Coastal Act for local government with respect to the sort of planning contemplated by the substance of the conservancy’s proposal.”
The city attorney goes on about the compromises reached by both the state agency and city when Edmiston elected to go before the city for an LCP amendment.
In an understatement, Hogin notes that the conservancy was “dissatisfied with certain modifications that the city council made.” Edmiston was furious, showed it at the meeting and told the city council members so. He accused municipal officials of reneging on a tentative deal between SMMC and city officials.
Hogin indicates that with the SMMC “unhappy with the proposed LCP amendment and unwilling to allow the statutory public process to run its full course, the conservancy employs a tactical maneuver and requests an LCP override.”
The city attorney accuses the conservancy of abandoning the public review process of the LCP amendment “before it has concluded.”
She goes on to accuse the conservancy of disregarding the modifications made by the city, which “developed from the extensive public review process.”
Edmiston counters that he believes it was the conservancy that had made the compromises and then the city council wanted more when it made additional modifications to the LCP amendment, eliminating overnight camping and immensely reducing the number of events that could be held at SMMC’s headquarters at Ramirez Canyon Park.