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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Updating City’s Zoning Code Is Underway

• Planners to Conduct Interviews with Stakeholders in Series of Separate Meetings

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu planning department has announced it is undertaking an updating and streamlining of its zoning codes and is seeking comments from various stakeholders to offer insights on the strengths and weaknesses of the city’s municipal zoning code.
A consultant Lisa Wise Consulting has already been hired to conduct what the city is calling the “group stakeholder interviews” throughout the day on Aug. 9. The sessions will take place in the Zuma Room at City Hall and almost all of them require an RSVP.
Stakeholder meetings are nothing new at City Hall, but it is the first time the city has publicly revealed beforehand who has been designated to attend what meetings and it is the first time it has been broadcast to the media for dissemination.
The day will kick off with the city council’s subcommittee the Zoning Ordinance Revisions and Code Enforcement Subcommittee or ZORACES conducting a public meeting from 9 to 10 a.m.
The next hour will be taken up with meeting with permit expediters, planners, attorneys and project managers. An RSVP is required.
The eleven o’clock hour will consist of architects, developers and trades people. An RSVP is also required.
The business community is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. and the residents such as community groups, property owners and tenants are scheduled to be interviewed at 3 p.m. An RSVP is required.
Later that day at 4 p.m. in what is inadvertently described as “a free for all” is open to everybody. No RSVP is required.
Planners indicate updating the municipal code is currently underway. Phase 2, including an update to the Local Coastal Program local implementation plan, will commence once an administrative draft of the municipal code is completed. It is anticipated for no later than 2012.
The objectives of phase one include, according to planners, streamlining language to avoid redundancy, reformatting organization and incorporating illustrative graphics and tables, revising development standards language so that it is clear, concise and understandable, updating uses and definitions, updating administered processing and provisions, applying smart growth and sustainable principles and ensuring compliance with state law.
In a letter sent to media outlets, Planning Director Joyce Parker- Bozylinski noted it is important to ensure that the regulations put into place when Malibu achieved cityhood are still meeting the same goals laid out by the community in the General Plan and LCP.
“These goals include the protection and preservation of the city’s unique land and marine environment, natural and rural setting, and coastal resources. The regulations that protect these resources are located within the city’s zoning code—a document written in 1993, to which minimal changes have been made since its adoption nearly two decades ago,” Parker-Bozylinski wrote.
The planning director noted that it is important to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the zoning code in order to understand how effective the document has been and how its regulations are shaping the image of the city. An effective, up-to-date and well-written zoning code is required. The city council allocated initial funding to begin a comprehensive update to the code, which she described as a “significant undertaking that will benefit the community for years to come, but a task that strikes at the core of our most challenging issues.”
The planning director said to launch the project forward the city will conduct the group stakeholder interviews.
“The city welcomes public comments and suggestions on this endeavor and looks forward to hearing the public’s thoughts on the zoning code’s strengths and weaknesses in preserving the small town community envisioned in the General Plan and LCP,” Parker-Bozylinski added.

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