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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trails Map Approved for Coastal Amendment

• Council Continues Dedication Incentive Proposal Plan

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council unanimously approved an updated version of the city’s trails map to be included in a Local Coastal Program Amendment at its meeting this week, but it postponed a hearing on creating development incentives for trail dedications.
Comments had been received both in support and opposition to the proposed amendment. However, the council got bogged down in reviewing trails that were questioned by property owners, who wanted them removed, or trails that were sought or wanted removed by other agencies.
Some of the primary concerns were trail alignment locations and redundancy, legal issues, infringements on private property, property evaluation, takings, leverage from other public agencies, and conflicts with existing LCP.
Some speakers told the city council that the inclusion of their properties on a trails map would encumber their land and others said the last minute additions of such trails gave property owners little notice.
Other complained the proposed trails went right down the middle of their property where they planned to build a home.
The trails committee had worked for years to produce what they describe as an accurate assessment of historical, existing and future-planned trails throughout the city. Committee members and staff planners acknowledged the final map is a “wish list.”
The planning commission-recommended map includes a mix of conceptual and actual trail alignments. However, some homeowners challenged the so-called wish list saying it represents an encumbrance on their properties and that some lending institutions and escrow companies took the maps seriously.
The council spent hours on a motion to determine whether certain trails should be considered in a later LCPA instead of the current document before them.
Reiterating they were not “removing” any of the trails in question, but rather deleting them from the motion before them, the council agreed on a list of a dozen or so trails and provisions that would not be submitted with the LCPA designated for the California Coastal Commission for certification at this time.
The trails “removed” from the motion include the Decker-Edison Trail, the Encinal Creek Trail, the Lechuza Trail, the lower Trancas Canyon alignment, the Market Trail, Point Dume trails, Rosemary Thyme Trail and the California Coastal Trail.
The so-called “keepers” are the Avocado Trail, the El Nido Trail and the Escondido Connector Trail.
The proposed map includes 121 miles of trails within city limits, which previously included a 22-mile segment of the California Coastal Trail.
The trails are mapped along public and private streets, property lines and bisect some parcels.
The Pacific Coast Highway bicycle lanes were not identified on the map because the proposed map is exclusive to implementing LUP Policy 2,45, which necessitates an extensive public trail system running across the Santa Monica Mountains [and] a separate policy exists within LUP Policy 2.42 which necessitates the development of a bikeways plan in the city’s coastal zone to provide safe and accessible bikeways and support facilities, city council members were told
Including the coastal trail, about 2737 public and private parcels are affected by the proposed trail alignments, a city planner noted.
The city attorney insisted property owners would not be required to provide trail dedications across their property. Trail dedications may be volunteered, she said.
“The proposed map is intended to be a conceptual document to be used for future trail planning efforts,” a planner added.
The council postponed another LCPA, the issue of offering building incentives for those who offer a trail dedication.
The planning commission had approved recommending the city council adopt a LCPA to create development incentives for trail dedications.
The purpose of the amendment, according to municipal planners, is to create an incentives plan for trail dedications offered within the city that would establish a new discretionary request called a trail dedication incentive or TDI that would be available to property owners seeking to provide a trail dedication as part of a residential development application.

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