Despite heated opposition from several Malibu community groups, a proposal to develop a 300-room hotel next to Pepperdine University was unanimously approved Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors.
The 28-acre development planned by the Adamson Co. must still get final approval from the California Coastal Commission.
Slated for construction on a vacant parcel at the northeast corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road, the seven-story hotel complex would include an office building, restaurant, community services center and parking lots.
The project has been supported by county planners and by Pepperdine University, which is seeking approval of a related plan to double the size of its 2,500-student campus. That plan, also opposed by numerous Malibu community organizations, will come before the Regional Planning Commission in June.
Opponents contend that the hotel--the first in a town that has fewer than 100 overnight rooms in its existing small motels and rental cabins--would set a precedent for large resort-oriented developments.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday June 2, 1985 Home Edition Westside Part 9 Page 2 Column 1 Zones Desk 2 inches; 59 words Type of Material: Correction
A story in the Westside section of the Times on Thursday erroneously reported that the county Board of Supervisors had unanimously approved a proposal for a 300-room hotel in Malibu. Actually, the board voted 4-1 to approve the hotel plan. Supervisor Ed Edelman cast the dissenting vote, arguing that major developments should not be approved in Malibu until a transportation improvement plan is adopted for the area.
Critics also argue that the complex would cause severe traffic problems on the already congested Pacific Coast Highway and would pollute Malibu Creek and a nearby coastal lagoon where the hotel's treated sewage would be discharged.
Martin Wachs, a UCLA professor of urban planning who spoke against the project, told the board at a public hearing last week that traffic bound for the new hotel "would substantially affect" congestion on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Wachs said the environmental impact report on the project "contained serious flaws" in its assessment of traffic volume, and failed to consider Malibu's chronic land slippage and brush fire problems in choosing a site appropriate for a hotel.
But Supervisors Pete Schabarum and Deane Dana, in whose district the development is planned, offered strong backing for the project and denied that the hotel will hurt the community.
At the public hearing, Schabarum chastised the community groups opposed to the hotel, saying that anti-development forces in Malibu "are always complaining about the community's outmoded sewage facilities and insufficient traffic corridors" as an excuse for fighting development.
"I haven't heard you people offer a single solution--just reasons why it can't be done," Schabarum said.
The development received approval from the county Regional Planning Commission in March, but that decision was appealed to the Board of Supervisors by the Malibu Township Council, a homeowners' association.
Leaders of the Malibu Township Council, representing nearly 1,000 homeowners, contended at the hearing that numerous environmental issues were left unanswered.
Madelyn Glickfeld, a spokeswoman for the council, said the report failed to adequately address sewage problems, the hotel's visual impact, and the need for 300 overnight rooms in the area.
"A hotel of this size is wholly inappropriate for Malibu, a small town of rural and residential character," said Glickfeld, who unsuccessfully sought a compromise figure of 150 rooms.
She also criticized the county's plan to route sewage from the hotel to a treatment plant in the hills that discharges waste into Malibu Creek and Malibu Lagoon. The lagoon, where county health officials recently detected high levels of pollutants, "cannot take the additional volumes of treated sewage," Glickfeld said.
But Don Bright, whose firm compiled the environmental impact report, argued that sewage from the hotel would be extensively pre-treated and would have no effect on the creek or lagoon.
Bright conceded that the hotel would cause some increases in traffic levels, but argued that hotel traffic would not coincide with peak commuter traffic in Malibu and would have little noticeable effect.
However, Kirk Seindersteiker, a Malibu attorney, said millions of visitors come to Malibu each year "for a nice daily visit, not for overnight stays. This is not a resort community . . . and our visitors want peace, quiet, good traffic and not just another hotel like you see up and down the coast."