KBUU NEWS Tues April 11 – Malibu West Homeowners Are Fed Up With Broad Beach Sand Tax

Written by on April 11, 2023

EDITOR’s NOTE: This is a developing story.   We will feature an interview with Kenneth Ehrlich in reaction to Monday night’s city council meeting, on the KBUU News Wednesday morning.  Bottom line: he says there is no stopping or withdrawing.

After 11 years … the special tax district at Broad Beach has taxed residents 20 million dollars for a sand replenishment project  … and not one grain of sand has been moved. 

Plans to truck in 44 thousand dump truck loads of sand from a sand quarry … 50 miles away … have been the subject of lawsuits … massive legal bills … delays at the coastal Commission.

One lot owner on Broad Beach has had enough … make that … the multiple owners of one affected lot.

The Malibu West homeowners own their oceanfront Swim Club building … on Broad Beach.

They have been taxed 700 thousand dollars over 12 years to pay for the sand.

The sand that hasn’t arrived.

And they have had it.

Dermot Stoiker was one Malibu West resident who spoke at last night’s city council meeting.


“The funds that have gone into to the Broad Beach homeowners association (total) $20 million over 12 years. Not one grain of sand has been deposited back on Broad Beach through this grandiose revetment … 

“This project to re-sand the beach. It’s been an absolute joke. 

“And this attorney who’s heading up the program… they’re printing our money to put in their accounts… And we have nothing to show for it.”

Former city councilman Mikke Pierson lives in Malibu West.


“Though this project is clearly never going to happen… I just want to remind the City Council what would happen if it did go forward.

“The first load of sand would be 20,000 dump trucks…

“This is a terrible plan, that never had a chance. 

“$20 million misspent and as far as I understand it, 75% of that (spending) is on lawyers, and 25% on engineers.” 

Rob Tobin … another Malibu West resident.


“I actually don’t believe there was any goodwill in this at any time. I think that this is a scam and a fraud. It basically has stolen $20 million and returned nothing but trouble.”

Last night … the Malibu city council moved with lightning speed … 

The ordered the city attorney to come up with a study on how to dissolve the Broad Beach sand district as soon as possible.

But acting city attorney Trevor Russell said… It’s not that easy.


“It’s a difficult process. 

“The council can’t just change his mind to get out of the gap. 

“It would require in general a unanimous vote from their Board of Directors or from 50% of the assessed value in the GHAD for the solution to be made possible.”

City attorney Trevor Russin.

And the Coastal Commission may be standing in the way as well.  Coastal gave the Broad Beach homeowners permission to put rocks in front of their houses more than a decade ago… On the promise that they would either bury the rocks in sand… Or take the rocks out.

The time may have come and gone for the concept of trucking in sand.  The ocean has moved some of Broad Beach back … in front of the houses.  And sand has severely eroded down at Zuma and Westward beaches.

Some Malibu residents favor using natural methods to replenish the beach … like strategically placing cobblestones to collect sand.

City councilman Marianne Riggins … last night.


“My question would be do we need to have this be part of a more global solution period???

“Where we are ere talking about what sound replenishment looks like at this point???

“A lot has changed in coastal science over the last decade and perhaps there has been a change that might be a part of the discussion.”

Century City lawyer Ken Ehrlich has represented Broad beach homeowners for 30 years …he guided the formation of the geologic hazards abatement district … which has the power to levy property taxes.

That was back in 2011.

Over the years … Ehrlich is quoted over and over again … “the project has been delayed one year.” 

And then another year.

And then another year.

As several city council members mentioned last night … unraveling the geologic hazards district that was created by Ehrlich and the Trancas Property Owners Association in 2011 will not be easy.

Not to mention the fact that the Broad Beach homeowners … in a Coastal Commission agreement brokered by Ehrlich … promised to remove the protective rock revetment if the district fails to cover it with sand. 

We have a request in for comment from Ken Ehrlich … which will air on the KBUU News Wednesday morning.

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