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Supervisors OK Proposal : Malibu Plan Takes Another Step Forward

October 09, 1986|JUDY PASTERNAK | Times Staff Writer

Taking another step in the long march toward creation of a blueprint for Malibu's future, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a land-use plan that brings the county and the state closer to agreement than ever before. But significant differences remain, centering on construction limits in fragile canyon areas and on thousands of small mountain lots originally intended for cabins or tents.

The California Coastal Commission and the county must both approve a Malibu plan before it can take effect in a region stretching along 27 miles of shoreline west of Topanga Canyon and five miles inland to the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains.

The supervisors' latest proposal, adopted Tuesday, halves the number of new houses, apartments and condominiums called for in the county's original plan, rejected by the state in 1983.

Supervisor Deane Dana, who represents coastal Malibu, said "there are stumbling blocks" but said he hopes the state will agree to this version of the Malibu plan. "There are a number of concessions that a lot of people have made," he said. "I'm tired. I would hate to see this end up in court."

Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who represents a portion of Santa Monica Mountains covered by the plan, said conversations with coastal commissioners, whom he would not identify, have convinced him that the state will accept this draft.

But Tom Crandall, the commission's South Coast director, said Tuesday in a telephone interview, "I would doubt that the commission would accept the board's position as it was adopted today."

He added, "I think we're getting very close" but said he is "assuming that there is still some willingness on the part of the county to seek compromises from the board's current position."

Supervisors essentially approved a November, 1985 proposal from the state, which was the product of more than two years of backstage negotiation and public hearings. The vote was 4-0, with Supervisor Ed Edelman absent.

The supervisors agreed to the huge reduction in growth--from 12,095 to 6,582 residences--and to elimination of Trancas Canyon as a commercial center, generally keeping construction of shops, offices and hotels to the Malibu Civic Center-Pepperdine University and Point Dume-Paradise Cove areas. They agreed to impose a cap of 2,110 new dwellings until Pacific Coast Highway is improved to handle additional traffic.

But they also made these changes to the state's recommended plan:

---- They eliminated a requirement that builders purchase small "cabin lots" for about $15,000 each and essentially "retire" those properties from future construction whenever they subdivide property in the area along the coast highway. The intent was to direct construction toward the flatlands near the beach and away from the rugged mountains, without changing the total number of lots in the region, a plan Dana called "outrageous and unworkable."

Instead, County Planning Director Norman Murdoch, said the county simply won't allow more than 6,582 residences to be built. Crandall has said that without the purchase program or a similar way to ensure that the limit would be observed, "there's nothing saying how that cap would be implemented."

----Supervisors eliminated a requirement for specific plans for watershed areas where creeks snake along Malibu canyon bottoms. The state wants specific plans for each canyon before allowing building to begin. The county's position is that the land-use plan already restricts bulldozing and requires buildings to be set back from streams, and property owners shouldn't be forced to wait to develop their property while even more planning drags on.

----Supervisors accepted a suggestion by Antonovich to exempt the most inland portion of the zone from the 2,110-unit construction cap linked to improvement of the coast highway. Antonovich said most people in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains travel away from Malibu into the San Fernando Valley to shop and use the Ventura Freeway to commute to work.

Crandall said "I would expect that our staff's position will not change" on the first two issues.

He reacted to Antonovich's suggestion by saying, "Our staff will certainly be looking at that change with the hope that it is an appropriate change." He added that "the key, I suspect, would be the submission of evidence that development in the area excluded from the cap will not affect (the coast highway) and other major accessways...across the mountains."

The state panel will probably consider the county's proposal in December or in early 1987, Crandall said.

Before that, said County Planning Director Murdoch, "I'm not sure any useful purpose would be served by attempts at negotiation."

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