KBUU News – Planning Dept Says City Structures At Bluffs Park Violate LCP – Malibu Film Society Says Planning Director Violating City Rules – Homeless Fires Diminish, As City Grapples With Violent Homeless Person – SM Screwup Lets 16 Highrise Buildings In Back Door

Written by on October 19, 2022

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Planning Dept Blocks Renovating Little League Snack Shack, Rules That All Structures At Bluffs Park Are Illegal

25 years ago …. Malibu wrote a zoning code … one that locked in the rural image that the residents had for the Malibu coast back then.

And now … the shortcomings of that effort are coming home to roost.

The inability to have an art show in a public park.

The inability of the Malibu Film Society to continue to show movies in churches

And now … the Malibu Little League is threatened.

City planners are now saying that the Malibu Little League Snack Shack is not in the zoning plan and has to go.

The snack shack sits in a shipping container … tucked away on the third field line where it has sat since before the city was incorporated 31 years ago …

Most cities would call that an existing … grandfathered nonconforming use.

Not Malibu.


“Zoning is a problem for replacing the snack shack. 

“This is an open space zoned area. 

“It prohibits refreshment stand in other fixed locations. 

“Anything with the sale of food or exchange of food is not allowed. So if Little League where to put up a canopy and just sell chips and sodas… that would not be allowed due to this zoning designation.”

That’s Kristen Risego … a city parks employee … relaying the bad news from Planning Director Richard Mollica.

The current zoning designation for Malibu Bluffs Park is Public Open Space.

No buildings allowed at all.

The snack shack … illegal.

The maintenance shed.


And the city official didn’t say it … but the Michael Landon Recreation Center is apparently, technically illegal under the zoning code as well.

Of course … a city planner would call the existing snack shack and recreation center existing nonconforming uses …. they were there before the new zoning laws.

Changing that means a change to the property’s zoning designation and a Local Coastal Program Amendment.

The process would take two to three years to complete and requires approval from the Planning Commission, City Council, and the California Coastal Commission. 

Due to significant staff shortages in the Planning Department,… the city could have to find money to hire a consultant is needed to prepare the zoning change and an amendment to the Local Coastal Plan … the LCP.

Ans that does not sit well with the Malibu Little League.

Board member Jake Lingo speaks for the Little League volunteers.


“I just got made aware of the staff report that came out, that is basically saying we cannot do a like-for-like replacement on the snack shack. 

“And for asking and trying to make the property better, we’re being told by the staff we’re not allowed to even have what we already have. 

“And so, I am very disappointed in that.” 

Last summer … the city Parks and Recreation Commission voted to go ahead with replacing the snack shack at the Little League field.

But that was before the Planning Department chipped in. 

All of this overwhelms some Parks Commissioners … like Suzanne Guldiman,


“I don’t know …. this turned out be a you know ‘let’s replace the snack shop’ and suddenly we’re looking at three years and and jumping through Coastal Commission. 

“It’s a little intimidating. 

“I mean, can this even be done?  Is is this a realistic expectation, that after three years and $40,000 that Coastal is not gonna go ‘nope, sorry, can’t do it, go away.’ “

A little history.

The zoning of Bluffs Park dates back 20 years ago … when the Coastal Commission and the city were in a battle for control of Bluffs Park.

The state and Joe Edmiston – in the MRCA – very much wanted the city’s Little League field off the bluff. 

Edmiston wanted to build a Malibu State Beach welcoming center as the center for what he thought would be removal of many of the homes here.

He still wants a campground there.

The city very much wanted to keep control of the park.

In 2002 … the Coastal Commission wrote a Coastal Plan for Malibu that many at the time said would be a straightjacket.

Coastal staff hated the city parks use of what they thought should be a regional welcoming park to the Santa Monica Mountains.

But existing uses were grandfathered in … like the Little League snack shack.

The city Planning Department apparently does not see it that way.


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Malibu Film Society Director Publicly Challenges Planning Director’s Explanation

The director of the Malibu Film Society is not happy with the city Planning Director’s explanation of why the popular film series has been effectively shut down.

Scott Tallal has asked the city for an explanation … as to why it all of a sudden is demanding that churches pull permits to show movies in their halls.

In years past … the city council encouraged the film society to show its series of first run movies at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue,.

But when a would-be competing film entrepreneur could not get access to the Jewish Center … he filed a zoning complaint.

This entrepreneur does not live in Malibu … while the Malibu Film Society is an industry-recognized group of Malibu residents and industry producers… directors … screenwriters and others. 

Tallal issued a statement yesterday ,… which he says the Malibu municipal codes specifically allows churches to have “Indoor entertainment events held within premises designed to accommodate such events, such as auditoriums.”

Tallal wants to know why the Planning Director is not following that code. 


“When explaining the reason for your determination to suddenly prohibit these screenings after 13 years, you stated yesterday that your staff could not find any relevant permit or other record of approval by your department, the Planning Commission or City Council.

“But in sticking with this determination, you have still not answered the underlying question:  what if these documents simply don’t exist because there was never any need for them?”

It appears that the Film Society and Malibu Little League have something in common.

And again we point out … Tallal is a community volunteer at KBUU Radio.

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Homeless Fires Decrease, As City Grappled With Emergency Beds Issue

The number of homeless-set fires in Malibu has dramatically decreased this year.

Just three fires have been blamed on cooking or heating fires that have got control so far this year.

Last year… 23 fires were blamed on homeless camping in Malibu.

That’s the word from the City Of Malibu at yesterday’s homelessness task force meeting.

City officials also said they have received one bid for its request for social service agencies to operate an homeless shelter on Malibu’s behalf … but not necessarily in Malibu.

City public safety director Susan Duenas said it came from the People Concern … the Santa Monica-based homeless services agency.

The People Concern is promising to operate three beds for homeless persons … but these would be so-called “intermediate beds.”

The federal courts requirer “emergency neds” local police department is to have the legal authority to arrest people for violating a city’s no camping ordinance.


“Through our contact, we do have access to beds. The difference is we have to compete for those kind of beds with everybody else, so it is really first come, first serve. That really is the difference.

“So these three would be tests for Malibu people, which our outreach team has assured us we can fill.”

But the caution that the people concerns proposal is for three intermediate beds… which would be used for people after they have found emergency shelter … but before they are moved into long-term housing.

Federal courts require the city to have emergency shelter beds available if the sheriffs department is to enforce our new anti-camping law …

That is the most-used interpretation of the now famous … and now controlling … Boise and Klamath Falls federal court cases.

Public Safety Commissioner Chris Frost says sheriff’s deputies over the hill have an emergency bed to use now … so they are now able to enforce Calabasas’s camping ban … unlike here in Malibu.

That’s because they have a contract for one emergency ned at a shelter down in Los Angeles.


“The one bed up in Calabasas up until recently still had not been used. It had been reserved a couple of times but they never got the person over there, so they were able to enforce. Once that available bed is gone, they are back to the drawing board as well.”

So … what to do with a homeless person … camping on private property … and aggressively arguing with neighbors???

That was the sticky situation on Point Dume earlier this month.

Josh Siegel is a member of the city’s homelessness task force … and he found himself in the middle of the effort to defuse the anger and get the woman away from threatening people.


“It became very quickly apparent that, even with us the owners’ active consent, active doing all the things that they are supposed to do, you know calling the station, it’s quickly apparent that it’s very very difficult for the sheriffs department to remove someone.”

And that brings us to the issue of RV campers … taking up residence on Malibu streets.

Public safety director Susan Duenas says the additional sheriff’s department patrol car that was brought in will once again be directed to ousting those big RVs.

And she said Malibu’s team of outreach workers and sheriff’s deputies is making remarkable progress.


“Sometimes it pains me that the community does not see how remarkable the work that has been done in the last year has been, in terms of our homeless numbers.

“It cannot be ignored. And I know Kelly mentioned that she feels that Beverly Hills and Culver City is more successful. I disagree.

“Beverly Hills has more homeless people than we do based on the size of their city. They have almost seven homeless people for every square mile, we have four, OK?

Culver City has 63 for every square mile, we have four.

The homeless shelter beds contract goes uo to the City Council for a vote after the election … on Nov. 28th.


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LA Papers Add Details To Lawsuit Challenging Villanueva Retaliation

Los Angeles newspapers are uncovering more details about the lates in a string of lawsuits against sheriff Alex Villanueva.

The sheriff … 10 points behind in his re-election race … calls them “yet another frivolous lawsuit.”

There are numerous such lawsuits … filed against Villanueva.

Yesterday … the sheriff said the lieutenant who filed suit sat on the alleged misconduct by the sheriff for years … until the lieutenant was put under investigation for alleged misconduct himself.

Lt Joseph Garrido says he was denied a promotion and retaliated against by the sheriff after he  reported the death of a police dog named Spike … who was killed by overheating after being left in a hot car by his sheriff’s department sergeant handler.

Garrido alleges Villanueva quashed an investigation into the dog’s death to avoid “bad media” for himself and the department.

His lawsuit claims that in retaliation, the department reversed a promotion Garrido had been granted, made the plaintiff the subject of a trumped up criminal investigation and told his neighbors in a letter that he had stolen a vehicle.

And Villanueva released a memo saying that Spike the police dog had been left in a car with a malfunctioning air conditioner .. and that proper procedures had been followed.

Meanwhile … the sheriff has scheduled a news conference for 11 this morning to “discuss public corruption in Los Angeles County.”

This story is baed on reporting in the LA Daily News. 


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The tap room at Trancas Country Market is open…

And the Malibu Brewing Company is serving its Oktoberfest fest beer … a traditional lager with notes of toffee … moderate malt flavors and delicate hops.

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Santa Monica City Council Screwup May Add 16 Highrise Condos Thru Back Door Approval

Another four high-rise condos have slipped through the loophole left open in Santa Monica. 

The Santa Monica daily Press reports that the legal loophole has been closed … but the final count is 16 new medium- and high-density residential projects.

The 16 buildings get to bypass local zoning laws … including height and floor-area ratio restrictions, 

Those projects get an automatic green light to build because the Santa Monica City Council took a legal gamble … and submitted a housing plan to the state that did not accommodate for job growth in Santa Monica over the past decade.

These new buildings are allowed to bypass local oversight … most of them are between nine and 15 stories  high…  that 15 story building alone will have 2,000 units near Bergamot Station.

A total of 4,562 total new housing units are in the building plans.

The tallest of the new projects is 15 stories high …  five are 12 stories high … one is 11 stories and two more are 10.

The population in Santa Monica may increase by 10 to 15 percent …. If all the units are built. 

This story is based on reporting by our news partners at the Santa Monica Daily Press.


You can hear the news live every morning until 9:30 on KBUU.

FM 99.1 in western Malibu.  Also: streaming at www.radiomalibu.net

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