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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Hearing Set on Rancho Malibu Hotel EIR

• Project Would Be Four Times Larger than Colony Plaza Center

BY BILL KOENEKER

A scoping meeting has been scheduled for the first public hearing on the Rancho Malibu Hotel on Wednesday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall in the multi-purpose room.
The public scoping meeting for the Environmental Impact Report, according to city officials, is to describe the proposed project, the environmental process and to receive input on the scope and content of the EIR in conformance with state law.
An additional purpose is to solicit input from those public agencies and interested members of the public on the scope and content of the environmental information to be included in the EIR.
The Notice of Preparation will be circulated for a 30-day public review period.
The proposal calls for construction of a 146-room luxury hotel on a 27.8-acre vacant parcel located on the northeast corner of Malibu Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway.
Plans call for about 274,936 square feet of development (gross square footage) both for the main hotel building and the 21 detached two-story casitas, which house the majority of hotel rooms.
According to the latest project description, the hotel will include such facilities as retail shops, hotel restaurant, sundries store, lobby bar, library, ballroom, meeting rooms, fitness center and spa, pool, pool cabanas and function lawns.
The plans call for drafting a tract map to create an airspace subdivision to allow each hotel room as well as two retail spaces, to be sold individually as commercial condominiums.
The owner of each unit will be limited to staying in the unit no more than 180 days per calendar year with consecutive stays limited to no more than 30 days.
When the unit owner is not staying at the hotel, the unit will be placed into the normal pool of hotel rooms to be rented out to the public.
Regardless of whether the owner or hotel guest is staying in the room, applicable transient occupancy taxes will be charged per night, according to the public notice.
The project includes the installation of an on-site wastewater treatment system facility to serve the project. As an alternative, in the event the State Resources Control Board does not allow the proposed project to move forward with an individual OWTS facility, the hotel will connect to the city’s planned Civic Center centralized wastewater treatment facility once it is available.
One of the buildings is comprised of a 82,036 square foot basement, which includes the spa and fitness center and a first and second floor includes the lobby area, retail, restaurant, banquet and meeting facilities, according to planning officials.
The guestrooms and suites are located within the casita-type buildings totaling 133,873 square feet. Two swimming pools and 543 parking spaces are provided. The 165, 259 square foot parking structure will house the majority of the parking.
That is actually 440,560 square feet of building space, which makes it four times the size of the Malibu Colony Plaza shopping center.
There is a 10-page synopsis, prepared by a city planner, of the history of the project as it has wended its way through the approval process since 1984.
The staff has determined that the Conditional Use Permit is still valid, but the site plan review has expired and a new SPR would be required to move forward on the project. Currently, the project has a coastal permit issued by the California Coastal Commission.
“Since the project was never evaluated against the Local Coastal Program (which was certified in 2002) a new CDP from the city would also be required,” stated an in-house planning department memo.
The history of hotel plans for the bluff top acreage that sits above the Civic Center area is a long one.
In 1984, a large hotel previously referred to as the Adamson Hotel was proposed and received Los Angeles County approval for 300 rooms in separate hillside villas, a separate restaurant and a separate community use facility.
The Adamson Companies, which owned the land and interests in the plans is no longer involved in the project. Richard Weintraub, who heads up the partnership operating the Malibu Lumber Yard shopping center, and partners are the current owners.
The California Coastal Commission approved the previous permit with 47 conditions, according to municipal officials.
In 1991, the city placed a moratorium on all new development and the project was stalled.
In 1995, the property owner submitted a Conditional Use Permit package for a somewhat smaller 250-room hotel complex.
A scaled down version of 146 rooms was approved by the city. The project, according to city officials, was kept active until 2006 through annual time extensions issued by the municipality. Upon adoption of the Local Coastal Program, the applicant was required by the municipality to apply for a coastal permit.
In  2007, the property owner submitted a coastal permit application for the construction of the 146-room hotel.
The city contracted with an environmental firm to start work on an EIR. However, the applicant submitted a letter requesting to withdraw the application and the coastal permit and associated requests was officially withdrawn on June 2009.
In June 2011, the property owner submitted a coastal permit application to the city for the same scope of work proposed as part of the 2007 coastal permit.

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