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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Planning Panel Gives OK to New Chinese Restaurant

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu Planning Commission had a full plate of agenda items at its meeting this week on Monday, including a request for a permit for the operation of a Chinese restaurant called Malibu Wok.
The city received an application from Sacha Fattahi and her well-known family, who operates the two Subways in Malibu, for a full service Chinese restaurant located in the Malibu Colony Plaza.
The tenant is seeking a request for the sale of beer and wine for onsite consumption. The CUP pertains to a 1834-square-foot tenant space (including a 189-square-foot front patio plus a 208-square-foot rear patio), according to city planners.
Years ago the space was occupied by the Champagne Bakery,. Six years ago, the planning commission approved the Barrel, a wine and spirits retail store and wine tasting bar with outdoor seating.
Later the commission allowed for a full liquor service for onsite consumption. In late 2009, Barrel vacated the unit.
The staff recommended the commission approve the request.
In correspondence to the city, Fattahi hinted at how they wanted to operate. “Depending on availability, our vegetable ingredients would mostly be organic. We believe we can run a high class and at the same time a competitive operation to serve Malibu residents with a healthy and delicious Chinese style food and a ‘family friendly ambience’ that they deserve,” Fattahi wrote.
Commissioners had little to say about the plans other than clarifying the location of the rear patio.
A second Chinese restaurant is also planned for Malibu. Michael Koss, who heads ownership of Malibu Country Mart, confirmed he has welcomed MR Chow to the Civic Center shopping center. “Yes, it’s true. We signed a lease,” he said.
Koss said Chow is taking up the entire space left vacant by Nobu’s departure.
Chow has opened locations in London, New York, Miami and Las Vegas. He said he shares many of the same clients as Nobu and its former site was a good fit for expanding to the Westside.
Koss agreed. “It is a high quality restaurant much like Nobu, but different food,” he said.
On another matter, the planning staff asked the commission to continue to a date uncertain a highly controversial proposal on Grayfox Street on Point Dume to demolish a notable architectural house and replace it with a Mediterranean-style dwelling that neighbors contend would block views and would invade their privacy.
The staff recommendation to continue the item “to allow the property owners more time to work with the neighbors,” was approved by the planning panel.
The power of a homeowners association was reaffirmed by the commission when it voted to concur with the HOA for a Point Dume home currently under construction, whose owners now sought a pool house.
The commission was told the condition of HOA approval was a signed agreement with the homeowner that the pool house would never become a rental.
Commissioner Jeff Jennings said that was good enough. “It is a bad idea if the city becomes the enforcers of the HOA conditions or CCRs,” he said. The commission concurred.
The planning staff added the pool house has no kitchen and therefore does not meet the definition of a second unit. To become a second unit, the building would also need a coastal permit, a planner added.
A permit sought by a Sweetwater Canyon homeowner seemed to prove being between a rock and a hard place could be costly.
The homeowner’s structure, built along a steep slope, was creeping down the hill, according to experts.
The 2005 rain triggered landslides and one in particular across the canyon blocked the canyon creek and water broke through the earthen dam created by the landslide causing more problems for the house.
The homeowner and her consultants sought an emergency permit and indicated that the owner needs $1 million in repairs to stop any further failure of the slope.
The hearing before the commission Monday night formalized what the city would allow since some of the work was done after the fact of a permit.
The tiebacks and two gabion walls to stabilize the failed slope below the house were approved.
The commission was told the homeowner has to sell the home to pay for the costs of the stabilization.

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