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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ZORACES Meeting to Focus on Ways the City Can Foster Small Local Businesses

• Petition Drive Hopes to Show Support for Action

BY BILL KOENEKER

The next Zoning Ordinance Review and Code Enforcement Subcommittee meeting to deal with “growing and sustaining local businesses,” is on Tuesday, June 28, at 9 a.m.
Mayor John Sibert said at a previous city council meeting that there are a “couple of more steps,” involved before any recommendations go before the full council. “The staff report will be out before the week of the [ZORACES] meeting,” he added.
By Tuesday afternoon of this week, the report was not yet available, according to the city manager’s executive assistant Mary Linden.
“I have to get it back from planning before I can post in on the website,” she said.
The council subcommittee comprised of Sibert, Councilmember Jefferson Wagner and Planning Commission Chair Jeff Jennings conducted a town-hall meeting several weeks ago, when over 100 people showed up to talk about the matter.
Various ideas were offered up, including store owners asking for more customers, shopping center owners vowing they did not want more regulation, and other speakers insisting some kind of legislative approach should be undertaken, or types of incentives offered.
A local petition recently surfaced on the Internet and laid down the rules of what is thought to be a method to “Preserve the local businesses of the coastal city,” described as the “Community Soul of Malibu.”
The signatories are petitioning the City of Malibu. The petition was started by small business activist Jae Flora Katz, who asks “neighbors and friends of Malibu to sign the petition.”
Citing the city’s General Plan and mission statement as its guiding light, the website indicates the town is at a pivotal crossroads regarding commercial development.
“Retail leases are turning Malibu into a clone of ritzy ‘Beverly Hills’ malls, far removed from the essential nature of our low key, inviting beach community,” the website says.
A plan to manage and limit future chain establishments is advocated. “Existing chains will not be affected (excluded are banks, real estate offices, gas stations, etc.),” the petition states.
As of last Tuesday afternoon, there were 191 names, including signatures from Poland, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and various locations in California.
This week the list of signatures rose to 290.

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