City Council to Consider Acquisition of Acreage on PCH near Point Dume
• Lively Debate Is Already in Progress on Possible Use
BY BILL KOENEKER
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Malibu City Council is poised to consider at its next meeting what, if anything, it might want to do, if it acquires a 9.8 acre parcel currently for sale near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Heathercliff Road on the land side.
At a previous meeting, the council created a 12-member blue ribbon committee, which conducted public hearings and decided to prepare for the council a spreadsheet listing the potential uses of the property if it is acquired.
The committee rated the potential impacts of those uses with regard to the environment, lights, noise, septic, traffic and water and forwarded the spreadsheet to the council.
Committee members took great effort to indicate that the order of uses on the list did not reflect the panel’s recommendation.
Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich had brought the matter before the council after learning the undeveloped property, which is operated as a plant nursery, is for sale.
A west Malibu resident herself, she indicated that the site might become a potential City Hall, community center or any number of uses that could benefit the city and its residents, the majority of whom now live west of Pepperdine University. Western Malibu is also where most potential new residential development will take place as the eastern end is already infilled.
Even so, controversy ensued immediately between council members and some of the public, who suggested west Malibu was the wrong place to build any amenities and complained that any such endeavors would require more concrete and pavement in what is considered by many the rural element of Malibu.
East-end Malibuites, who still think Malibu’s population center is the Civic Center area, nixed the site for municipal offices. Proponents of a teen center, or some kind of building for a boys and girls club, also took a drubbing.
The mayor had talked about the feasibility of a sheriff’s station or library, but said she wanted to reserve judgment until she heard from the community.
Some of the public complained the city should rid itself of a building complex and think instead about leaving the land as open space.
The city’s staff had reported back to the council about what seemed feasible from a financial viewpoint, explaining the municipality had money saved up for a city hall, and that forgoing the lease payments it currently makes on city hall offices could be used to pay off building a new city hall. The staff report also indicated there was additional funding that could be used for a library from money owed to the city from the county library system.
Other options, such as a teen center, emergency operations center or a sheriff’s sub-station came with no money, no set-aside funds or some form of monthly revenue stream, making those options seem much less feasible.
If council members choose to do so, they could direct the staff to proceed with negotiations to purchase the land, direct the staff on proposed uses of the property if acquired and could begin entering a contract with a consultant to initiate environmental review, begin a Local Coastal Program amendment and zoning map.
The property is currently listed for $4.9 million.