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Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Planning Commission Addressed DEIR for Housing Element Update

• No One from Public or Officials Commented on the Document


Planning Chair Jeff Jennings explained that the hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Report on the Housing Element Update this week was to allow members of the public and the commissioners to speak or comment on the DEIR.
However, there was no public comment. None of the commissioners commented on the document either.
Commissioner John Mazza had an explanation. “I thank the staff for getting us out a major mess. This was a big problem,” he said.
Mazza said he was not referring to the Trancas properties that were at one time earmarked for the density increases for affordable housing.
Malibu West residents howled in protest and previous hearings on the housing element were filled with critics.
Mazza indicated the lack of public speakers was testimony that the staff had responded to public concerns. “There is nobody here,” he said.
The core of the document proposes the addition of an overlay zone on three parcels to allow for a residential density up to 25 units per acre.
Two of the three parcels are located near  Point Dume and are called city candidate sites one and two, located adjacent to each other at 28517 Pacific Coast Highway and 28401 PCH respectively, according to the DEIR.
The sites front PCH between Ramirez Mesa Road and Zuma View Place and there are condominium complexes that are located off of those streets.
Another candidate site is located at 23465 Civic Center Way in the city’s Civic Center and is approximately 6.5 miles east of the other two sites. The site is primarily surrounded by commercial, institutional and residential uses.
The first two sites mentioned are 5.8 acres and 3.25 acres respectively and are currently zoned multi-family residential at a density of six units per acre per Malibu’s Local Coastal Program.
The sites are primarily undeveloped with the exception of one single-family residence on each site.
The Civic Center site encompasses 2.3 acres of a larger 15.2-acre site and is currently within the Town Center Overlay District. The site is entirely undeveloped; however,, the adjacent lot has been approved for commercial retail and office space development known as the La Paz.
Mazza asked if the city now owned the acreage that is part of the development agreement with the La Paz developer.
Planning Director Joyce Parker Bozylinski answered in the negative saying the city and the developer are not in agreement about how and when the transfer should take place.
“We believe the language says the change of ownership would take place when they got their permits meant city permits. They say it means when they get all of their permits from all of the agencies,” the planning director said.
Additionally, the document would update the housing element to include a program to create a new “Affordable Housing Overlay” district within the General Plan and the LCP.
The AHO designation would allow multi-family residential development at a density of 25 units per acre when affordable housing units are included in the project as well as a density bonus up to 35 percent consistent with state density bonus law.
The AHO can be applied to the three candidate sites to accommodate the city’s required housing needs allocation as determined by the Southern California Association of Governments.
Incentives for development on the three sites include density bonuses up to 35 percent, priority permit processing, modified development standards, administrative support with funding applications and/or fee waivers or deferrals.
The units that the three candidate sites could be able to accommodate under the updated document is 212 units, which just exceeds the minimum number of affordable units required in the city’s mandated quota of 188 units of affordable to very-low and low income families.
The Housing Element Update also includes a number of programs and policies intended to encourage and facilitate the provision of adequate housing for the existing and protected needs of all economic segments of the community, as well as housing for persons with special needs.
Some observers say it seems somewhat interesting that no one responded to a stated policy in the draft document.
That policy calls for “amending the Local Coastal Program and the Malibu Municipal Code to permit small licensed residential care facilities (maximum six residents) by-right in all residential zones and larger care facilities (more than six residents) and similar innovative alternative living projects in the Civic Center area subject to a Conditional Use Permit where such projects would be compatible with the surrounding uses.”