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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Planning Panel to Hear View Plan

BY BILL KOENEKER


Malibu officials recently announced the Malibu planning commission is scheduled to take public testimony and deliberate on a recommendation for the proposed citywide view restoration ordinance on April 5. It will be the sole item on the agenda.
According to planning department documents, the proposed view restoration ordinance would establish and provide a right of action for property owners in the city to restore pre-existing views from private residences that have been “significantly obstructed by landscaping on neighboring properties.”
Planners noted an equally important goal of municipal officials is “to restore pre-existing views while considering the privacy, safety and stability of hillsides, natural and rural settings of the city and acknowledging the importance of trees and foliage.”
Planners were quick to point out foliage that meets the definition of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area or native trees “is exempt from restoration actions.”
A notice issued by the planning department indicates the proposed ordinance establishes a process by which property owners within the city may seek to restore a pre-existing view with emphasis on neighbors resolving issues prior to court action.
The commission had conducted informal public workshops and a formal public hearing about a proposed ordinance after the matter had been discussed by a task force for almost a year.
The task force had created its own ordinance and recommended the city could simply adopt it.
However, some city council members at that time frowned on proceeding in that fashion and instructed the staff to start from ground zero.
The planning department told planning commission members it would adopt provisions from the task force document, and other ordinances currently enacted by other cities.
The planning commission made recommendations for inclusion into the proposed document, but the panel has not yet seen a draft version.
The proposed ordinance is currently posted on the city’s website.
The matter is returning to the planning panel for its recommendations before the proposal goes before the city council for approval or denial.

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