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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

‘Crummer Site’ Development DEIR Reveals Ballfield Proposal Concerns

• Two-Story Homes with a Skatepark Recommended in Report but Plans Draw View Impact Criticism

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Draft Environmental Impact Report prepared for the so-called Crummer site residential subdivision indicates the alternative consisting of five two-story homes with a skate park “is designed to eliminate the project's only significant and unavoidable impact.”
“The proposed project with baseball field development option would result in a substantial increase in traffic in Opening Year 2017 and Future Year 2030 if the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road/Winter Mesa Road, which is operated by Caltrans, is not improved,” the DEIR states.
The project site is a 24-acre parcel atop a bluff with steep slopes descending to the south and east. Malibu Bluffs Park borders the project site to the west. PCH borders the site to the north and a privately owned parcel borders the site to the east. Winter Mesa Drive, a small road connecting PCH to Malibu Bluffs Park, provides access to the project site.
The developer wants to build five homes with lot six developed as a private gated street, gatehouse, onsite wastewater treatment package plant, landscaping, open space to be owned and maintained by the homeowners association. Lot seven would be dedicated to the city for active and passive recreation use.
“At this time the city believes that the recreational area may be used as a baseball field or a skate park. Therefore, these uses are evaluated in this Draft EIR,” the document states.
Three project alternatives were identified and analyzed in detail for the relative impacts to the proposed project. The two-story with skate park only alternative, one- story homes with skate park or baseball field, and no project foreseeable development alternative.
The two-story homes with skate park only alternative “would eliminate the significant and unavoidable traffic impact. It would also reduce parking demand impacts and operational noise impacts,” the DEIR concludes.
The one-story homes with skate park or baseball field alternative “would reduce the maximum building height of the residential structures from 28 feet to 18 feet. The building square footages would remain the approximately the same for each unit, as would the lot sizes.”
The two-story homes represent a more compact building zone, according to the document, resulting in less building mass and allow for more open area on each of the five lots offering a reduction in space between homes.
“The single-story alternative would almost double the building footprints as well as the amount of grading and export for each of the five homes,” the DEIR asserts.
The document is quick to point out planners got an earful from homeowners who said the five homes would appear very prominent when viewed from low lying portions of the city to the east and when viewed from higher elevations such as the Malibu Country Estates,
“Although not significant, this alternative would reduce aesthetic impacts. It would increase impacts in a variety of environmental categories including construction, air quality, biological impacts, cultural, geochemical and construction noise. While the alternative would meet many of the project objectives, it would not meet the objective of maximizing separation of building areas from significant environmental resources.”
Plans call for each of the five single-family residences to be two stories tall with a maximum height of 28 feet, and would include a basement, attached garage, swimming pool and spa, fountains, vehicle entry gate, fencing, landscaping and hardscape.
Lot one includes a detached guesthouse. Lot two includes a detached gym. Lots three and five include a detached cabana and guesthouse and lot four includes a detached cabana, according to planners.
Each home would have a wastewater septic tank, which would route wastewater to the OWTS plant.
The proposed private street provides access to the single-family homes. The private gated street is planned to be 34 feet wide and terminate in a cul-de-sac, which would serve as a fire department turnaround and would be accessible from Winter Mesa Drive. The gatehouse would measure about 280 square feet, 16 feet in height at its highest point and could include an office  and a bathroom.
In the executive summary, the DEIR acknowledges areas of controversy indicating adjacent residents' concerns over the potential land use and aesthetic incompatibility of the two-story single family homes and recreational uses with the surrounding neighborhood.

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