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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Point Dume Condo Builder Seeks LCPA Green Light from City Council Members

• Planning Commissioners Recommended Denial at Meeting

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council at its meeting on May 14 is being asked to consider an amendment to the Local Coastal Program to change the Land Use Designation of vacant land on Point Dume planned for condominiums from Rural Residential to Multi-Family and to change the zoning designation from Rural Residential-one acre (RR-1) to Multi-Family for the parcel located at 29255 Heathercliff Road.
The staff recommendation is for the council to adopt a resolution denying the request “without prejudice.”
The planning commission had originally directed the staff to return with a resolution recommending denial of the requested LCPA and denying the subject coastal development permit with associated entitlements.
The staff returned with the denial resolution, where the planning commission with the consent of the project applicant separated the LCP amendment from the subject CDP. The planning panel continued the coastal permit to date uncertain and recommended denial of the LCPA to the city council, according to a staff report.
“Had the LCPA and CDP not been separated, the planning commission resolution would have also denied the subject CDP. The planning commission’s decision on the CDP would have been appealable to the city council following the planning commission’s decision. However, the planning commission presented the option of separating the LCPA and CDP in order to allow a decision on the CDP and the merits of the development project to be evaluated by the planning commission once a decision on the LCP amendment is made,” the staff report states.
“Should the city council deny the requested LCPA, the zoning and land use designation for the subject property would remain as RR/RR-1 in the LCP. Staff would then revise the zoning designation in the [Malibu Municipal Code] and include in a future comprehensive constancy LCP and M.M.C. zoning cleanup effort,” the staff report goes on to state.
“Should the city council approve the requested LCP amendment, the item would be sent to the California Coastal Commission for review and certification. “In the event the CCC certified the LCP amendment, the zoning and land use designation for the subject parcel would then be in effect. Staff anticipates at that time the project applicant would proceed with the subject CDP application and the development project be reviewed at a public hearing before the planning commission,” the staff report concludes.
The LCPA plus a request for a conditional use permit had previously been heard by the planning panel, which took a different tack than the applicant, who considered it a “housekeeping” matter.
However, when the planning commission considered the matter at the meeting, debate ensued on how the zoning issues should be resolved.
The panel on a 3-2 vote with Commissioners Jeff Jennings and Carol Randall dissenting, denied approving an application for the construction of a new, two-story, 4459-square-foot, three-unit condominium building, uncovered balconies and patios and a 1,768 square-foot subterranean garage with six parking spaces on 29255 Heathercliff Road on Point Dume.
Furthermore, the majority of the commissioners also recommended the city council deny a Local Coastal Program Amendment to change the parcel’s zoning and land use designation from Rural Residential to Multi-Family.
 Commissioners could not agree about the map discrepancy between the Malibu Municipal Code Zoning and General Plan Land Use Policy Maps and the Local Coastal Program Zoning and Land Use Maps.
Commissioner John Mazza said he could not support the matter before the panelists.
 “This is a rezoning. We do not have adequate information to support that. It is surrounded on three sides by residences. There is a question about density on Heathercliff Road. We should consider the zoning as a separate issue,” he said.
Then Commissioner Joan House said, “I think you have a very nice project. If it were single-family, it would fit right in. I have a problem with the zoning. You’ve done a good job, but I won’t be supporting it,” she said.
Commissioner Jeff Jennings disagreed. “I’m kind of surprised by these comments. Joan and I both served on the General Plan Task Force. There is no question about any of these things. There were lots of errors. It is a zoning change, now you are downzoning the property. I’m confused, the property is zoned a particular way. There is an issue of interpretation, but it was resolved by the city council. It does not need to be revetted,” he said.
Jennings said he understood what was going on. “I understand you don’t want anything there. It will block your view. But that is not protected. It would block your view if it was a single-family home. I am prepared to support the project,” he added.
“I agree with Jeff,” said Randall. “What bothers me is neighbors arguing with one another. You’ve seen the lot empty for a long time, but somebody has a right to build on it. Somebody made a mistake, obviously the Coastal Commission. We are not talking about 12 units.”
Plans also call for a driveway with fire department turnaround, grading, and a retaining wall, including a site plan review for construction up to 27 feet for a pitched roof, and a conditional use permit for a multi-family condominium subdivision.
The commission had heard the matter previously, but wanted more information if the condos posed a threat of view impairment to the surrounding neighborhood homes.
However, at this meeting the commissioners stayed focused on the zoning issue.
“I think zoning is a separate issue,” said Chair Roohi Stack. “The zoning issue is important. It is about intensity. A single-family home is not comparable to a three-unit condo. Intensity is also an issue,” she said.
Talking to the majority, Jennings said, “I understand it. You want to downzone the property.”
House disagreed. “I know we both served on the General Plan Task Force. I think there is a discrepancy. There are single-family lots on both sides,” she said.
“Are we going to direct a downzoning? If you change it by definition it is a downzoning,” insisted Jennings.
Mazza disagreed insisting the Local Coastal Program takes precedence over all plans and zoning. “What we would be doing is upzoning it. It is legally a single-family lot,” he said.
Planning Director Joyce Parker-Bozylinkski explained only the council would be making the zone change; the commission could only make a recommendation to the city council.
The commissioners were told the staff would bring back the findings for a denial and come back to the planning panel for another vote.

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