Malibu Surfside News

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

City Council Agrees to Take Active Role in Skateboard Park Relocation Plan

• Developer Grants Municipality Extension Until October Instead of Requiring 90-Day Termination


The Malibu City Council, at a special meeting last week, agreed to get involved in relocating the existing skate park after it decided to form a council ad hoc committee.
Several mothers and their sons came to a previous council session to ask members to focus on the pending closure of Papa Jack's Skate Park.
During the holidays, Steve Soboroff, who heads up the proposed “Whole Foods in the Park,” shopping center planned for the property where the skate park is located, announced a 90-day termination of the agreement under which the skate park is currently operated by the municipality.
Since then, Soboroff has agreed to extend the use of the property through October, 2011 to allow more time for the city to relocate the park.
At this week’s meeting, the chair of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission had urged the council to form a task force including commission members.
However, the council opted, instead, for an ad hoc committee consisting of two council members in an effort to hasten the process.
“There is a couple of advantages to both,” said Councilmember Jefferson Wagner, “The ad hoc can move on this quicker. The task force is a larger element.”
City Manager Jim Thorsen agreed with Wagner. “He hit it on the head. An ad hoc committee is more flexible, quicker. They don’t have to post meetings,” he added.
Councilmember Lou La Monte reminded colleagues that Soboroff offered his valued assistance and the ad hoc panel should take him up on it.
“In addition to Steve,” [former Councilmember] Sharon Barovsky expressed a willingness to serve,” said Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who said she was willing to also serve on the committee and would want to include Soboroff, Barovsky, former planning commissioner Regan Schaar and park and recreation commission members.
Conley Ulich wanted to make sure the council understood there were other tasks required and read from the staff report. “Assessing the need for a temporary community skate park, identifying potential locations with favorable zoning and community acceptance, researching funding sources to purchase property (if not donated) and costs for constructing a new park.”
When the announcement was made by Soboroff in December, he told the Malibu Surfside News that he was willing to extend the skateboard park's operations for possibly another year if the city council asked.
He said he is willing to lend his expertise and money, $25,000, to help the city relocate the park. Soboroff, an advocate of public recreation, is a former commissioner of the parks and recreation department for the city of Los Angeles.
The shopping center proposal is at the start of the Environmental Impact Report review, which takes about nine months to a year before there are any permit hearings.
Soboroff said he did not want any challenges at that time. He estimates Whole Foods should be operating by 2014, including a 25,540-square-foot Whole Foods Market building, and 13,878 square feet of additional retail space in four separate detached buildings.
The proposal consists of about 38,425 square feet of commercial space in five buildings.

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