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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Car Wash Owner Appeals Landlord’s City-Issued Planning Permit Approval

• Complicated Building Project Already Controversial

BY BILL KOENEKER


A proposed office building that was recently approved by the Malibu Planning Commission and then was scheduled for an appeal before the California Coastal Commission was back before the planning panel recently where it got a thumbs up for modifications sought by the applicant.
However, in a somewhat unusual move, the business owner and operator of a car wash on the property has filed an appeal in an attempt to have the city council overturn the commission’s most recent approval
Norm Haynie, who took an ownership of the vacant service station on Pacific Coast Highway near McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken, had gotten approval for the demolition of the existing remnants of the gas station and a permit for the construction of a new 2499 square foot commercial office building with rooftop parking lot and a vehicular ramp connecting the rooftop parking lot with an existing parking lot located directly north of the subject property.
After planning commission approval, an appeal was scheduled before the California Coastal Commission by Patt Healy, who argued the city’s planning panel had not followed the rules for landscaping and open space.
The matter had been continued before the CCC on two occasions and in the meantime Haynie and Healy negotiated an agreement that was incorporated into another application before the planning commission that included the negotiated modifications, according to Malibu planners.
Now, however, after the planning panel approved the application that included those modifications, the car wash operator is appealing the matter to the city council.
“The project was not appealed [by Healy] to the city council, however it was appealed to the California Coastal Commission by Patt Healy and the Malibu Coalition for Slow Growth. The project was scheduled to be heard at the August hearing, however it was continued at the applicant's request. [It was again continued at the November CCC meeting] The applicant [was] in the process of private negotiations with the appellant to address her concerns. As a result, the applicant submitted an application to convert the previously approved parking areas to landscaped areas in order to provide additional landscaping on the project,” wrote Associate Planner Ha Ly, in a staff report.
Consequently, Haynie successfully submitted an amendment to the permit to replace six parking spaces into 2463 square feet of landscaped area.
In challenging the approval, business owner Jacob Zanki wrote in his appeal letter, “The finding is not supported by the evidence because the elimination of six of the 12 spaces in front of the building will prevent the new building from being a successful business that serves people living in and visiting Malibu, which is contrary to the zoning specified in the Local Coastal Program.”
Zanki went on to indicate the project was not in conformance to the LCP, because it “is inconsistent with the intent of the community commercial zoning (the zoning specific in the LCP) with respect to the required parking in this zoning. If you don’t know where to park or if the parking is not convenient then people will not park in the unseen spaces and the business will fail. No retail business, including mine, will ever survive with so few parking spaces.”
After taking Zanki’s $1000 appeal fee, the planning department will notice nearby property owners, prepare a staff report, then schedule a hearing before the city council.

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