Mayor Urges Council to Consider Purchase of Land at Point Dume
BY BILL KOENEKER
Since the population center of Malibu is at, or near, Point Dume, would it make sense to locate more municipal services in the area?
The Malibu City Council is poised to begin that discussion when it looks at an item on next week’s agenda on whether to negotiate for the acquisition of a nearly 10-acre site in the Point Dume area.
The property is located on the land side of Pacific Coast Highway near Heathercliff Road. It is tucked in between the former Fig Tree Ranch, now known as Vital Zuman, and the Malibu Stage Company, which is housed in the old Lutheran Church.
The property is currently utilized as a plant nursery and is owned by a longtime Malibu family that is moving out of the area. The property is zoned Rural-Residential.
“The purpose of getting it into the public arena is to find out more about the wants and needs of the community,” said Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich, who emphasized “there is nothing set in stone,” but views the item as exploratory. “It might turn out to be ideal for some of the items that have been talked about by the community, including a teen center and/or senior center, satellite library, sheriff’s substation or possibly a lumber site,” she said.
The mayor indicated she hopes to convince the council it is time to discuss the feasibility of building more infrastructure in the west end of Malibu, particularly around Point Dume.
The staff report indicates the cost of a real estate appraisal and phase one environmental assessment will be about $200,000.
The property is currently listed for $4.9 million, according to the staff report. The mayor said she believed any land deal would cost less than acreage in the Civic Center area which is selling for over $2 million per acre.
If the city separates from the county library system and purchases the vacant land, municipal officials could conceivably build a new 15,000-square-foot municipal library. Money could come from $2 million set aside by the county for the city and an ongoing stream of revenue from property taxes earmarked for the library.
A similar arrangement could be worked out if a city hall would be built on the land. The city has set aside nearly $2 million from a fund earmarked for a city hall, and the revenue stream for paying back land acquisition and construction costs could come from replacing the rent the city currently pays at about $700,000 per year.
Other potential uses for the land could include building a teen center or senior center, an emergency operations center or a sheriff’s sub-station. The uses are considered a priority by city officials, but obtaining funding to acquire and develop the property for such uses might be extremely problematic. There are no cash reserves set aside for those uses and no streams of revenue to help offset paying back acquisition and construction costs.
“We could look at certificates of participation,” added the mayor, referring to money that could be borrowed from the Malibu lumber shopping center rents.