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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Planning Panel to Hear MHS Plan

• Light Pollution Impact Expected to Be Controversial

BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN

The City of Malibu Planning Commission is scheduled to hear an application from the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District for permits and variances for the proposed Measure BB Malibu Middle and High School Campus Improvement Project.
The plans call for the demolition and construction of a new classroom-library-administrative building totaling 20,274 square feet of net new building area; approximately 12,509 square feet of interior renovation and modernization of existing classrooms; a new 150-space lighted parking lot; a reconfigured 119-space lighted parking lot with an onsite roundabout; a reconfigured 61-space lighted parking lot; a new student drop-off and pick-up lane; two new unlit tennis courts; new outdoor common areas; new fencing, landscaping, retaining walls, and grading; the relocation of the existing equestrian trail; upgrades to the onsite wastewater treatment system and drainage; and the renovation of existing facilities and infrastructure, according to the staff report.
A request for Conditional Use Permits “for the operation of a public educational institution and the expansion of more than 500 square feet in the Institutional zone; Variances for grading in excess of 1000 cubic yards, structures on slopes steeper than 2.5 to 1, impermeable coverage over 25,000 square feet; height up to 28 feet for the new administration building; a 50 percent reduction in the required front yard setback; and a permit for the demolition of the existing administration and library buildings are included in the application.
The final environmental impact report for the project identified several unmitigatable negative impacts that would result from the proposed project, including significant light pollution from the new and improved parking areas.
The EIR concludes that the members of  Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education, none of whom reside in Malibu, “weighed the benefits of the proposed project, including specific economic, legal, social and technological benefits, against the unavoidable aesthetics and air quality impacts and determined that the identified benefits outweigh the unavoidable impacts. Accordingly, a Statement of Overriding Considerations was adopted by the board.”
Observers say that many Malibu Park residents are expected to voice views that differ substantially from those of the board on the issue of light and air pollution.
The staff report is available online at www.malibucity.org The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 6;30 p.m. at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road.

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