Public Input Sought on SMMC Plan with Overnight Camping
• Joint Meeting Set for Malibu
BY BILL KOENEKER
BY BILL KOENEKER
A joint meeting of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, its advisory committee and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority is scheduled for next Monday night at the same time as the Malibu City Council meeting.
The public meeting starts at 7:30 p,m., at Webster Elementary School, where the public is invited to speak on the draft Environmental Impact Report for what is called the Malibu Parks Public Access Enhancement Plan Public Works Plan.
The proposal ignited controversy when residents learned the plan includes overnight camping.
The period between 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. has been set aside for public testimony. No public testimony will be taken after 9:45 p.m., according to a SMMC public notice.
Speaker times will be adjusted to accommodate everyone wishing to speak.
The EIR’s introduction describes the Malibu coastal zone as some of the most scenic shoreline and desirable beach areas in Southern California
“Views to varying and extraordinary coastline features and to open mountain lands that abruptly ascend from the coastline exhibit a striking visual and natural quality unique to the Malibu coastal areas. In addition to picturesque beach area and scenic vistas, the Santa Monica Mountains area…contain an extensive network of trails connecting thousands of acres of coastal and inland parklands traversing federal, state, county and city parklands.”
The area of public resources consequently offer millions of people, who live next door in the megapolis, a range of recreational opportunities, resulting in a “renowned destination area for millions of visitors annually.”
Incremental development over the past 25 years has created a loss of coastal recreation opportunities and represents a “significant adverse impact to the availability of public access and recreation in Malibu.”
The SMMC and MRCA states its role is to preserve, acquire and enhance lands and natural resources for the benefit of the environment, public enjoyment and education.
The proposed plan focuses on both upland and shoreline recreation and parks areas, according to the EIR’s introduction.
“The plan includes recreational land (parkland and trail corridors) located between Zuma/Trancas Canyon, a unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, to the Malibu Bluffs Open Space (one of the alternative sites where overnight camping is planned).
“The proposed plan is intended to provide policies and implementation actions to complete trail connections for the Coastal Slope Trail and other connector trails through the plan area, which includes trail connections from Zuma/ Trancas canyons to Ramirez Canyon and Escondido Canyon Park, through Solstice Canyon Park, and finally Corral Canyon Park. The plan further provides for completing the Beach to Backbone Trail, which includes a continuous trail corridor through Corral Canyon from Dan Blocker County Beach to the Santa Monica Mountains ridgeline in Malibu Creek State Park, and improving additional Beach to Bluffs trails at the Malibu Bluffs Open Space area.
“The plan identifies specific public access, recreational facility and program improvements for the five park properties in the plan area owned by the SMMC and the MRCA. The proposed improvements generally include parking, camp areas and associated support facilities within existing park boundaries and trail improvements to support existing recreational demand and to facilitate an increased level of accessibility for visitors,” the EIR states.
The plan is available on the SMMC website at www.smmc.ca.gov as well as the MRCA website at www.mrca.ca.gov.
Written comments will be accepted through March 22 at 5 p.m. Comments can be submitted via e-mail to EIRcomments@smmc.ca.gov
The final EIR will include all comments received, as well as the SMMC/MRCA responses to those comments.