Malibu Surfside News

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Center Owner Seeks Zoning Change for Flower Farm to Permit Parking

• Former Nursery Is Potential Off-Site Vehicle Solution

BY BILL KOENEKER


The Malibu City Council’s Zoning Ordinance Revisions and Code Enforcement subcommittee met last week and turned back an initial effort to allow parking which serves a commercial use to be located on properties in the rural residential zoning districts through the issuance of a conditional use permit.
“They mostly felt that it was not something for the staff to move forward on,” said Planning Manager Joyce Parker Bozylinski.
The subcommittee is comprised of Mayor Jefferson Wagner and Councilmember John Sibert.
The review and recommendations regarding a potential zone text amendment came about after discussions with Zan Marquis, the owner of the Point Dume Village center, when he submitted a CUP application for a new restaurant called Village Cafe to replace a retail store in the shopping center, according to a staff report.
“At the present the CUP cannot be approved as there is no place onsite to add the additional parking spaces, which would be required for the restaurant use. The shopping center was built in 1969 and was constructed in accordance to the old parking requirements in the Los Angeles County zoning code,” Planner Stephanie Danner wrote in the staff report.
Presently, there are 180 parking spaces onsite to serve 23 tenants, including a grocery store, two banks, several restaurants, retail and offices, according to city planners.
The parking problems at the center have reached the staff in other ways, according to Danner, who indicated for the past two years property owners in the immediate neighborhood have complained about employees and patrons of the center taking up public parking on the streets when the center parking lots are full.
Planners noted Marquis looked elsewhere for a location to site the additional parking spaces required for the new restaurant.
“He has been in contact with adjacent developed commercial properties, but has not been able to obtain a joint use parking agreement with any of the adjacent property owners,” Danner wrote.
City officials have learned that Marquis is finalizing acquisition of a 9.84-acre vacant parcel, known as the DeWind property, on Pacific Coast Highway across from the center where off-site parking could be located.
Marquis confirmed that he is “closing on the purchase of the DeWind property in the next few days.” The Point Dume Village owner said, “Because the property is adjacent to the signalized crosswalk that crosses PCH at Heathercliff, it is a logical place for employees of Point Dume Village to park, freeing up the shopping center’s parking lot for customers, and freeing up the local streets for resident parking.”
He said, “Employees could park on the site, walk down steps to the crosswalk, and walk to work. The parking lot would take up a small portion of the parcel, and could be surrounded by landscaping and made invisible to neighbors.”
Because the crosswalk serves most of the private work force for Point Dume, it is regularly in use.
Marquis seeks a Zone Text Amendment that would allow the site to be used for parking.
“The problem with the vacant parcel is that it is zoned RR-5, which does not allow parking for a commercial use,” Danner stated.
A preliminary sketch by the property owner’s architect was submitted showing a parking lot layout site plan to demonstrate how about 38 parking spaces would fit if parking is concentrated on the southeast edge of the site next to the Pacific Coast Highway and Heathercliff Road intersection and away from the residential areas along the northern edge of the property.
“In the current configuration, the nearest residential use would be approximately 450 feet away from the proposed parking lot,” the planner wrote.
The staff noted the additional parking spaces could solve a two-fold problem, to allow the property owner to obtain new tenants and to help solve the problem of overflow parking going onto public streets in the surrounding neighborhood.
The planning manager noted the subcommittee also talked about how any ZTA should not be site specific, but rather apply citywide.
And, subcommittee members noted it would be important to know what the impact would be citywide if the law was changed.
Parker-Bozylinski acknowledged that a ZTA can be initiated by the city council, the planning commission, or by the applicant.
Marquis told the Malibu Surfside News, “I am trying to solve the parking problems and meet everyone's needs, I would appreciate support from the city for this kind of win-win approach to local planning.”

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