Malibu Surfside News

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

City Council Considers View Restoration Report and First Case Studies in Pilot Program

• More Than 300 Applicants in Seven Areas Throughout Malibu Express Interest in Program to Mediate Foliage Removal
BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council was scheduled to hear a report from the planning department on View Preservation and View Restoration at its meeting this week on Wednesday after the Malibu Surfside News went to press, The report includes an undertaking of five case studies of the program.
The consultant LT Consulting was paid $25,000 to conduct site visits and complete view assessments related to the view restoration ordinance.
The council had appropriated money for hiring a consultant and participating  applicants had visits from the planning department to determine primary views. The staff has completed 288 view assessments.
According to the staff report, the five case studies were randomly drawn from the 316 applicants “to analyze the issues associated with determining view restoration determinations and to provide any recommendations on proceeding forward with a view restoration ordinance.”
The planning department was also seeking direction whether to proceed with drafting an ordinance that would apply view restoration rights.
Of a preliminary 218 applications, the applicants seeking a view determination are spread out over all of Malibu including 51 homes from Point Dume, 41 from Malibu Park, 32 from the Latigo /Murphy/Winding Way areas, 18 from the La Costa/Carbon Canyon areas, 17 from Serra Retreat/Civic Center/Malibu Knolls, 16 from Broad Beach/Sea Level, 15 from Big Rock, seven from Malibu Country Estates, seven from west of Sea Level Drive and one from Trancas Canyon.
The staff report contains a summary of the case studies, which are provided for the council and also spelled out in further detail in their entirety.
“For the purpose of the case studies, a pre-existing view was defined as ‘a view that existed at any time since the date of acquisition or city incorporation,’ whichever is more recent, unless the property was acquired without a developed, legally habitable structure. If the property was acquired without a developed, legally habitable structure, a pre-existing view shall mean a primary view that existed as of the day the certificate of occupancy was issued for the structure or city incorporation, which is more recent. The pre-existing view cannot be a result of a natural disaster or a result of illegal activities conducted to obtain the view,” the staff report states.
              BIG ROCK
The case study selected for the Big Rock neighborhood is a single-story, single -family residence located on Big Rock Drive. Staff indicated the view assessment photographs were taken from an outdoor deck, located approximately five feet from the exterior wall of a living room.
The property owner submitted two photographs without date-stamping, according to planners, but the property owners believe they are from the 1990s. The landscaping in question is located on two properties.
“Based on the submitted information, all evidence supports that the property owners had a pre-existing view, however, staff could not determine the extent of which the trees in question obstructed the property owner's view without date-stamped photographs from 1991,” the report notes.
          WINDING WAY
The case study selected is a two-story single-family residence located on Winding Way. The view assessment photographs were taken from an outdoor deck. The property owner submitted photographs without date-stamps; however, the photos have a digital date. The digital date is the date the photographs were uploaded from the digital camera to the computer.
“Based on the submitted information, staff concluded restoration could be required; however a photograph with a digital date stamp may not be sufficient evidence to require restoration action,” the case study report states.
                POINT DUME
A two-story, single-family residence located on Dume Drive is case study four. The view assessment photographs were taken from an outdoor patio, located within 10 feet from the exterior wall of a family room.
The property owner submitted an arborist report and a photograph from Homes and Lands Magazine with a 1995 date.
The landscaping in question is located primarily on three properties, however, view restoration is desired over five to six properties because the property owner believes other properties may include trees and cause view obstruction, planners said.
“Based on the submitted information, staff concluded restoration could be required; however, staff could not determine the extent of restoration that would be required without date-stamp photographs from 1991 taken from the same location as where the primary view determination photographs were taken,” the case study report states.
                       MALIBU PARK
This case study is a single-story, single-family residence located on Busch Drive. The view assessment photographs were taken from an outdoor deck, located within 10 feet from the exterior wall of a living room.
The property owner submitted photographs without date-stamps, however, the property owner identified the date of the photographs as May 1989.
“Based on the submitted information, staff concluded restoration could be required; however, the photograph without a date-stamp may not be sufficient evidence to require restoration action,” the report once again states.

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