School Board OKs Plans to Expedite MHS Night Lights
• Residents Claim Assurances of No Permanent Lighting
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
At its Aug. 21 meeting, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board voted to approve hiring a firm of consultants to facilitate negotiating a new Coastal Development Permit with the California Coastal Commission to allow permanent field lighting at the Malibu High School athletic field.
This is a move that may be hotly contested by some Malibu Park area residents.
CAA Planning is the company that has been selected to “support preparation, coordination, filing and presentation of an amendment to CDP-04-99-276 to the California Coastal Commission in support of the field lighting portion of the Malibu High School Measure BB project in an amount not to exceed $7000,” according to the meeting agenda.
Rented lights have been used for MHS’s nighttime athletic events but even this temporary lighting measure has been controversial.
The existing CDP for the campus (CDP-04-99-276) specifically prohibits either temporary or permanent field lighting. This position is endorsed by many of the school’s residential neighbors.
Former and present members of the Malibu Park Homeowners Association contend that the athletic field was permitted with the condition that it would not have permanent field lighting.
A letter that is dated June 10, 1994, from former MHS principal Michael Matthews to members of the Malibu Park HOA, which was written when the fields were first being negotiated, supports this position.
It states, “There are no plans to have any night games at any time. I do not see a need for night games.”
The existing CDP, issued by the coastal commission in 2000, specifically prohibits both temporary and permanent field lighting.
However as the school’s sports program grew, and the booster organization for MHS programs became a strong school force, this curb was ignored.
At its Oct. 18, 2007 meeting, the board of education approved the Malibu High School portion of Measure BB to “proceed with the design and entitlement process as part of the Measure BB program.”
Included in that project is a provision for lighting of the MHS athletic field.
According to school district staff, “[Through] recent reviews and inquiries, including contacts with the CCC staff, it has been determined that an amendment to CDP-04-99-276 may be required. In order to expedite and coordinate the preparation, coordination and filing of an amendment to the CCC, a specialist consulting firm is required. CAA Planning has extensive successful experience with the CCC process, including applications for similar school district projects.”
Members of the current Malibu Park HOA board of directors who were contacted have begun voicing concerns about the plan, which is viewed by some of them as a breach of promise.