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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

School District Seeks New Hearing for Its Malibu High Campus Plans
• Officials Seek Noticed Hearing by Panel

BY BILL KOENEKER

Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District officials ap?parently unhappy with the Mal??ibu Planning Commission de?cision on what they would ap?prove for remodeling the high school campus want to delay the tentative approval of the make?over plan until next year and in?stead of the limited public hearing for the consent item, have the commission conduct a new fully noticed public hearing.
The matter will be discussed at the planning commission’s hearing next week when it comes be?fore the panel as a consent item.
The planning staff recommendation is to continue the item, at the request of the applicant, to the Feb. 19, 2013 regular planning commission meeting as a new public hearing.
City Attorney Christi Hogin said, “If something comes up the planning commission wants to talk about, they can’t do it as a consent calendar item.”
The city attorney said the school district is asking the city’s permission and there is no legal reason that they can’t get that.
“There is no final action. From the city’s point of view, there is no hurry, It will even give the opponents another chance to speak,” she said.
The planning commission several weeks ago considered the ap?plication from the school district to redevelop portions of the Mal?ibu Middle and High School campus.
Making its decision after the midnight hour, the planning panel directed the staff to bring back an amended resolution approving the coastal permit, Conditional Use Permit and various other en?titlements, including a demolition permit to redevelop portions of the campus with a new classroom/library/administration build?ing totaling 20,274 square feet of net new building area and ap?proximately 12,509 square feet  of interior renovation and mod?er?n?ization of existing classrooms.
In a somewhat unusual move, that resolution never came back to the planning panel.
An Environmental Impact Re?port, which was approved by the school district, prepared for the proposal acknowledges that the project would not be able to avoid adverse impacts related to in?creased sky-glow.
After hours of public comment and commission deliberations, the planning panel approved a re?configured 119-space lighted parking lot with an onsite roundabout, a reconfigured 61-space lighted parking lot, but a majority of the commissioners insisted a new 150-space parking lot should remain unlit.
Many public comments endorsed the staff recommendation about the re?duced lighting.
Some parents called foul saying the plans for the campus had been thought out for years by various committees and it was not fair to fiddle with the design so late in the pro?cess.
District officials reiterated their concern and told commissioners they were also bound by code and safety requirements. The big issue, commissioners were told, is the parking lot lighting and walkway lighting.
That the standards are not established by the district but are adopted by other agencies—the district has safety and liability standards. A school campus requires a certain kind of lighting, according to district officials.
After hours of questions and deliberations, the commission approved the staff recommendation of the unlit parking lot, some traffic changes and for two new unlit tennis courts, new outdoor common areas, new fencing, landscaping and grading, relocated equestrian trail, upgrades to the onsite wastewater treatment system and drainage and renovation of existing infrastructure.
The CUP is for operation of a public educational institution and the expansion of more than 500 square feet in that zone.
Variances were successfully sought for grading in excess of 1000 cubic yards, and constructing structures on 2.5 to one slopes and impermeable coverage over 25,000 square feet.
The school district, which is the lead agency, issued a Draft En?viron?mental Im?pact Report last fall.
The DEIR describes the project as  approximately 76,694 square feet of new construction, some of it replacement building since 15,041 square feet of old buildings are earmarked for demolition while other buildings will be upgraded or renovated.

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