KBUU News Monday: Enormous Hotel, Wedged Onto Malibu Bluff Front, Goes To City Council Tonight – Malibu High Principal Says City Made A Mess With Impound Yard At MHS – Cop Crackdown On PCH Results in 15% Crash Reduction, State Says – Watered-Down Malibu Speed Camera Bill Is In Legislative Purgatory –

Written by on May 13, 2024

The Malibu city council tonight will vote on a proposal to build a four-story hotel in an area zoned for a 2-story motel … next to the Malibu Inn nightclub.

There request is for variances … exemptions from local zoning laws … to allow the developer to carve into the cliff across from the Malibu Pier … 

This would be to build a 52 foot high retaining wall … partly visible from Surfrider Beach.

In front of this massive retaining wall would be a four story hotel or motel … in a city that only allows two story high structures.

Malibu rural advocates are incensed… they say there are as many as 20 city codes that would be violated to build a hotel. Or Motel. 

Even the term hotel or motel is loaded … as project opponents say the proposed structure would be a full-service hotel … which is not allowed in this particular  zoning designation. 

The project proponents say it is a motel … with limited food service … something that would be allowed in that zoning. 

Much more controversial is the proposal to cut into the hillside … just east of the Aviator Nation / Malibu Inn nightclub.

A vertical concrete retaining wall would hold back the hillside … it would extend up to 46 feet in height above the surface parking lot.

Add in underground parking … and that retaining wall would be 53 feet high … the tallest structure in Malibu in recent years.

And the top 12 feet of that retaining wall would stick out above the motel building in front. 

The zoning code limits the structure to two stories … but the applicant wants to use loopholes in the zoning code to squeeze in a four-level motel.

The ground floor would be parking … buried partially into the hillside behind … and dug down into the current parking area.

On top of that … two stories of motel … then on top of that … a rooftop deck with a cabana.   

Presto … two stories become four. 

The parking garage would be dug down into the dirt … to allow for cars to be double decked on top of each other … inside… to help meet the parking codes.

The owners say other buildings in the commercial center of Malibu also cut into the hillside in a similar way.

Those structures were given variances… exemptions to the zoning rules… By the county board of supervisors more than 35 years ago.

In fact… those variances were a major reason why Malibu voters got so angry … that they voted to form the city of Malibu 33 years ago.

If the Malibu Inn is approved by the city council … those variances would set a precedent for another proposed hotel project …. on Pacific Coast Highway at Malibu Canyon Road…

That project would also use very tall, retaining walls … to construct a hotel atop a hill .. with a parking garage cut into the side of it. 

The Malibu Inn Hotel ranks among the biggest projects ever brought before the city council.

Expect a marathon meeting tonight.

If the hotel gets turned down … expect a lawsuit.


Malibu High Principal Wants City To Do Its Homework On Tow-Away Impound Yard

The city of Malibu did a crappy job installing a temporary tow impound yard at Malibu high school last summer… according to the school principal.

And now the school district wants Malibu city officials to do their homework and come up with a better project.

As you probably know…  it has been reported extensively… the city uses Malibu High School’s front parking lot as a rental yard during the summer. 

Cars that are parked illegally on Point Dume or in the Zuma Beach area get towed to the high school lot… Where their owners have until sunset to reclaim them.

Leftover cars get towed to impound yard… which is in Santa Monica.

Malibu high school principal Patrick Miller told parents this morning that the school has voiced concerns regarding last year’s fencing around the impound yard … which sits in front of the brand new middle school building on Morning View Drive.

The temporary fencing fell over in the wind … it blocked doors to the school… it blocked school buses, turning into the parking lot … and it was ugly.

Miller says he hopes improvements are made this year.


Cop Crackdown On PCH Results in 15% Crash Reduction, State Says

So the City of Malibu is spending one million dollars a year for extra CHP officers … on PCH.

And a continued several million dollars for extra sheriff’s deputies is also coming out of the local tax budget.

Last week … officials said the increased sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers on Pacific Coast Highway are having results.

Black and whites prowling the highway … and cops writing tickets … have resulted in traffic slowing down … and fewer crashes.

Crashes are down 15 percent this year.

Thousand of tickets are still being handed out by the sheriff’s deputies … who are hired to acts as local police by the city.

And through April of this year, CHP officers have issued more than 1,200 citations along the stretch.

More than 1,000 of those were for speeding.

Deputy CHP chief … Douglas Young … interviewed last week by ABC 7.


“Other motorists who are not being stopped … seeing our officers on the side of the road with a stopped person … I think it kind of sending the message that there is a consequence to the speeding.

“I don’t see that driver or any other motorist or pedestrian or bicyclist get injured or killed poor driving habits.”

Caltrans officials were embarrassed into actin last fall … when four Peppedne students were mowed down and killed on PCH at La Costa Beach.

They rushed 4 point 2 million dollars an emergency state money to pay for some quick fixes… derided by some in Malibu as paint and signs.

State Transportation Secretary Tony Tavares said last week … the paint and signs… and extra cops… are working.

70280 TAVARES 

“Enhanced striping to warn drivers to slow down, enhanced crosswalks to add visibility to pedestrians crossing the PCH, the speed feedback radar signs … 10 locations along this corridor to again alert drivers to the speed.”

Last week.. you may haver heard about the new PR campaign has been launched to change motorist behavior on Pacific Coast Highway … 

The standard lineup of stern-faced public officials lined up behind yard signs and a podium … again …

California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin had promised no more business as usual last November … when he appeared in Malibu to take a bus tour and look at unsafe toad conditions that have been festering for seven decades. 

The state highway department … Caltrans … is months behind delivery of a promised comprehensive safety audit for the 21 miles of OCH within Malibu city limits.

Nobody asked about that last week … a shame.

Californians are encouraged to take a traffic safety pledge and commit to practicing safe driving behaviors when visiting beaches, parks, shops and restaurants along PCH.

It’s as if culture of drivers raised on Fast And Furious movies … with drivers cutting in and out of traffic … passing on the right shoulder …will be impressed by billboards and lawn signs.

In prepared words written by a PR person … the stat official promised that   Go Safely PCH is more than a campaign – it’s a movement – demonstrating our collective commitment to making this beautiful corridor safer for everyone who travels on it.” 

Here’s the prepared words of westside county supervisors Lindsey P. Horvath:

The ‘Go Safely PCH’ campaign will foster a safer scenic roadway for the Malibu community and all who enjoy our gorgeous coastline.”

In the words of Harry Shearer … the comic … it’s a movement … and everyone should have one. 


Watered Down Malibu Speed Camera Bill Is In Legislative Purgatory

Meanwhile in Sacramento … the emergency bill to allow speed cameras to be operated in Malibu has been sidetracked. 

It’s now in what they call the suspense file … not alive … but not yet dead.

It may become part of the horse trading at the end of this year’s legislative session… As Malibu’s legislative delegation fights to get it passed by voting in favor of some other bills that are important to some other people.

if it passes … it will allow Malibu to install five speed camera systems.

But even if it passes… the p[roposed law has been watered down … perhaps to the point of meaninglessness.

They will allow speeders to travel up to 60 or 65 mph in much of Malibu … and then get only a warning in the mail.

A vehicle’s first violation for traveling up to 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit shall be a warning notice.

There’s a fifty dollar fine for driving at a speed of 11 to 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

One hundred dollars for driving at a speed of 16 to 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

Two hundred dollars is the fine for 26 miles per hour or up.

And any car’s owner … if the vehicle is caught by the radar camera going at a speed of 100 miles per hour or more .. face a 500 dollar fine. 

And get this … the city must offer speeders an installment plan … to pay off their 25 dollar tickets ….

Monthly installments are capped at no more than twenty-five dollars.

And if you don’t have the money … don’t worry. 

Penalties will be cut by 80% for anyone whose paycheck is less than 250% of the federal poverty line.  the federal poverty limit is $37,000 per year.

That means that a 100 mile per hour speeder caught on camera … will get a 100 dollar fine. 

In the mail.

No points against the drivers license … either. 

And … in order to be eligible to impose the fine … the City of Malibu must compile a racial and economic equity impact analysis every year.

This report will have to be developed in collaboration with local racial justice and economic equity stakeholder groups. 

The analysis shall include the number of notices of violations issued to poor people … and keep track of which zip codes host the most offenders.

Let’s be frank. 

If Malibu traffic cameras write a significant number of tickets to … let’s say … young men from Los Angeles … who don’t make a lot of money at work… the cameras will be deemed to be racially and economically discriminatory.

This is despite the fact that young people who don’t make a lot of money make up a significant number of the fatalities caused by speed … not just in Malibu … but everywhere in the world.

The bill might get amended to squeeze out of the state legislature. We will keep you posted.

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