Malibu Starts Listening To Residents: Parks, Open Land, Swimming Pool? Official Dramatically Underestimates Young Population

Written by on May 21, 2024

Parks Advocates, Open Space Advocates Will Both Speak Tonight At Land Use Forum – 20.7% Of Malibu Is Under Age 20

Malibu has five vacant lots … owned by the city … at least two of them purchased for the stated purpose of building parks with playing fields.

And now … after years and years of inaction … the city is lurching into action … 

They have hired a public engagement firm to listen to various constituencies in the city.

People who want land left along for open space. 

People who want desperately needed playing fields for kids and adults.

Those constituencies can be expected to speak.

Last night at the Planning Commission … Chairman John Mazza urged people to speak up … but not for playing fields.


“We’ve had situations where people pack a room and everybody wants this or everybody wants that.  We have a diverse community the average age is 57. We have 7 percent children, which is pretty low.”

Mazza got both those figures wrong: the US Census Bureau says 20.7 percent of Malibu is age 19 or younger.  Mazza said 7 percent. 

And the average age of a Malibu resident is 50 … not 57.  

On the other side … a statement from the Malibu Elementary School PTA went out yesterday.

Malibu Elementary sits on Point Dume … which has zero public playing fields other than the small playground at the school.

And it sits near one of the vacant lots that could be home to several playing fields … maybe the swimming complex … maybe a branch library … maybe some other youth sports facilities.

The PTA notes that a significant portion of the town’s population wishes to maintain this land as vacant indefinitely.

The PTA said it’s crucial that parents collectively make a strong showing to ensure that all voices are heard . Including the parents voices …

Says the PTA … “it’s imperative that we rally as many individuals as possible to attend these meetings … to ensure a robust turnout.”

Mazza apparently anticipates that.

70920 MAZZA GROUP are for everybody.

“If we have a group of people that have needs, that don’t speak up in those kind of terms, in those kind of organized manners, we still have to consider what’s best for the city and what those best uses are for everybody.”

Mazza is an officer at the Malibu Township Council .. a government watchdog group that has repeatedly fought plans to build park fields on vacant … city owned land over past years.

The public listening meeting is at 6 tonight … at City Hall … and on Zoom:

The 5 Last Chances For Playing Fields In Malibu

So what land is the city talking about … and where is it???

The city owns five vacant lots … at least two of which were purchased for future use … 

And to prevent commercial projects from being built on them.  At least … that’s what city council members were saying at the time of the purchases.

Those would be the large vacant lot used for the chili cook off … at Civic Center Way next tot he new college building.

Also … the so-called triangle lot … currently home to the construction base for the PCH fiber optic construction project.

And … the large mostly-flat space on PCH … between Heathercliff and Portshead on Point Dume. 

Those three lots were purchased in 2016 for 42.5 million dollars… a unanimous vote by the City Council … in the city’s words …to take steps toward purchasing 29.24 acres of vacant properties for the community’s future use.

That “community future use” was not specified.

The chili cook off site was dangled as a potential playing field site to community activists … years ago.

Parks advocates were still quite angry that the city had spent 25 million dollars for Legacy Park … but promised the seller not to put any playing fields there.

In fact … all five members of the city parks commission were furious … that the city back 20 years ago spent 25 million dollars and did not come up with one playing field. 

Commissioner Doug O’Brien … the father of Malibu municipal parks … called Legacy Park the “dumbest deal ever.”

But city council members said “just wait … we can buy other land.”

Trancas Field … 35 acres … was purchased for 11.4 million dollars … in 2016.

It sits up the hill from PCH along Trancas Canyon Road… but does not touch the highway … 

There is a lot owned by real estate speculators sits on the flattest part of that vacant area. 

Back in 2016 … the city council bought the lands and immediately tasked the Parks and Recreation Commission with developing a plan for community discussion about the best use of Trancas Field. 

The best use … the parks commission felt … was ball fields. 

But any talks about building playing fields at Trancas were scuttled by opposition from across the road … people concerned about their ocean views and noise from people using the fields. 

Enter the Malibu Township Council. 

Led by board member and community activist Patt Healy, the Malibu Township Council MTC strongly encouraged the City of Malibu to complete the purchase of Trancas Field … but only for use as open space.

Healy owns a house right nearby … in Malibu West.

But she certainly speaks for a large number of people who think Malibu vacant land does not need any improving at all. 

And finally … there’s also a small hillside lot behind the new … soon to be open shopping center and office complex … east of the city library.

And let us not forget Bluffs Park … where city plans to build a larger park with more fields were scuttled when residents across PCH objected to the noise. 

In 33 years … Malibu has not built one public field for kids to play games.

Playing fields advocates still feel burned about the Legacy Park deal … when they were told by city council members … wait … your turn will come. 

The number of kids has dropped in Malibu. 

Many families move elsewhere … because there are no facilities for the club sports that their kids are in … and they have to drive to other cities.

Many move there.

And … the number of adults … who want to play touch football or after-work softball … has increased.

No one can overstate the desire for open space near one’s house.   But it is fair game for the city populace in general to question why the city should buy open space to benefit a few homeowners  in any one neighborhood … when open land in other neighborhoods has been taken off the plate from possible construction.

So that’s the history … on the table for tonight’s listening session.

Malibu needs open space … but it also needs playing fields for kids. 


[There are no radio stations in the database]