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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Public Hearing on Crummer Site DEIR Generates Numerous Project Questions and Concerns

• Issues Include Lack of Traffic Studies and the Potential for Damaging Chumash Cultural Resources


BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu Planning Commission held a public hearing this week on Monday night to hear comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report prepared for the Crummer Site Subdivision.
Planners stressed the public hearing was to allow public comments on the DEIR only.
“The development application itself and associated amendments to the zoning code and Local Coastal Program will not be discussed and no action will be taken on the Draft EIR or the development application. The public review period for the Draft EIR extends until May 20, 2013,” said Planning Director Joyce Parker Bozylinski.
Speakers were told the comments received at Monday night's hearing would be responded to in writing and included in the Final EIR.
At this time, a planning commission public hearing date has not been scheduled to consider the Final EIR, entitlements and associated amendments, commissioners were told.
The DEIR is being circulated for a 45-day review period, which started on April 3 and ends on May 20.
“Don't expect a lot of back and forth,” said Chair Jeff Jennings, explaining the commission was here mostly to listen to the public.
However, after public comment, some of the commissioners took a shot at commenting on the DEIR.
Commissioner John Mazza noted the DEIR does not address Pepperdine's traffic. “Why do the properties go beyond city building restrictions? There is a requirement for cumulative traffic impacts,” he said.
“My biggest concern is the traffic data supplied for the DEIR. That traffic grows by 1.5 percent per year. There is no basis for this number. The traffic study is based on population growth rate and that is fallacious,” he said.
Commissioner Mikke Pierson said he found less believable that one-story homes would produce more impacts. “One story homes make a lot more sense,” he said. “I worry about building basements and disturbing cultural resources. It could be a significant impact and it was not addressed nor a mention of cultural resource inventory. There was not much discussion of smaller homes,” Pierson said.
Jennings said California Coastal Commission had raised the issue of the property being considered visitor-serving. He said there was no talk about clustering the units.
Mazza said he had one more concern and that was the limitations placed on how many ball games could be played per day on the donated land to the city. He questioned how there would be enforcement of such activity. “It was not discussed. That is a mitigating factor. It is significant and missing from the DEIR,” he said.
Neither Commissioners David Brotman nor Roohi Stack chose to speak.
Representing the Malibu Country Estates, Robert Briskin said what was not included in the DEIR was how the project would block the views from Pepperdine University's Alumni Park.
He said the DEIR does not include the total square footage of the homes and there was no serious consideration of eliminating the basements. “We are not in need of more mansions in Malibu. The DEIR does not include Pepperdine's expansion plans,” Briskin added.
The project will put more effluent into the ground, but there was no discussion of slope stability in the DEIR, according to Briskin.
Robert Gold, who indicated he represented the property owners, said there was “no unmitigatible significant impacts.”
Chumash leader Mati Waiya said Malibu has not been kind to the Chumash. “The consultant is more of a ghost hunter,” he said. “If you protect Chumash cultural resources, you protect Malibu.”
Attorney Fred Gaines, who said he represented Green Acres LLC, the entity ownership of the Rancho Malibu Hotel, said the DEIR is inadequate and violates the California Environmental Quality Act. He said there was inadequate review of alternatives.
Gaines noted that a 28-foot-tall house is seen more than an 18-foot-tall house, but the DEIR says there is no greater impact.
Malibu Road resident Maryam Damavandi said a river of mud came down the slope from the site and ended up in her driveway. “The DEIR did not discuss irrigation and stability of the slopes,”  she said.
Summing up, Jennings said, “It is in the very early stage and there will be many more hearings to go.”
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.

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