Weintraub’s Malibu Resort Would Be Huge, And Require Numerous Exemptions From City Codes – City Quickly Reverses Junior Staffer’s Decision And Delivers Hundred Of Pages Under Public Dox Request

Written by on March 19, 2024

Eleven years ago …. City of Malibu planners sat on an application from developer Richard Weintraub to build a massive hotel and convention-center-sized facility on a bluff, across Malibu Canyon Road from Pepperdine’s big lawn.

Only when the application was complete and a formal notice of an environmental impact report, were the details released.

The city is not making that mistake this time.

On Monday …. the city released a gigantic file of application segments.  Hundreds of pages were disclosed as a result of a public documents request from KBUU Radio … released within one business day of the formal request.

That’s pretty quick. And it’s unprecedented.

The city staff is digging thought the application, which was filed last fall.  Staff is telling the developer which parts are incomplete, and listing what information the city needs to process the application.

So how big is the new proposed resort hotel on Malibu Canyon Road at Pacific Coast Highway??

Big.  Just about as big as the proposal that went down in flames, in the face of overwhelming community opposition, a decade ago.

But looking at the current files is like trying to figure of what kind of cake is being made by looking at the shopping list. 

It’s a request for a 146 room hotel … but there is some confusion from city staff as to how many rooms … versus how many keys.  Some of the “keys” may access a multi-room suite.   The city staff wants clarification on how many bedrooms per key … important for knowing if each room would have enough parking spaces.

A suite with three bedrooms may need more parking than a hotel room, which is required to have two parking spaces.

The parking garage …. it was formerly corkscrewed down three levels in a giant hole to be dug at the corner of PCH at Malibu Canyon.   Now Weintraub’s team proposes to relocate it to the hillside next to Civic Center Way, where it would be “terraced” into the steep hill on the north side of the resort.

There are no details yet on how that would be screened for residents to the north.

There would be a truck and employee entrance back there… but the grand entrance would remain up on Malibu Canyon Road.

The parking garage and surface lots would hold 551 parking spaces …on a typical weekday … the project is forecast to generate 2,609 daily trips.

Repeat: the first estimate is 26 hundred and 9 daily trips.   The actual predictions have yet to be done.

Sme of that traffic may use overburdened Malibu Canyon Road.  But it could be assumed at this point that the vast majority of those 26 hundred and 9 daily trips would be on Pacific Coast Highway in eastern Malibu.

Right now … PCH at Cross Creek has a daily traffic count of 47 thousand 500 cars.  Adding 2,609 cars to PCH alone would be an increase in traffic of about 5.5 percent.

The main driveway would be on Malibu Canyon Road north of PCH … traffic exiting the garage would be required to turn north on Malibu Canyon Road.  The city wants a study on if that would result in a whole bunch of traffic making U-turns to get back to PCH.   That was a major omission in the city study of the project a decade ago.

The restaurant facilities are planned … a fine dining restaurant … a members club … and a members lounge. 

Yet to be provided … a traffic study on emergency vehicle access … and a review of the project’s effect on evacuating the city during a fire emergency.  That was a major failure a decade ago … no study on emergencies. 

One major issue sure to come up is Weintraub’s claim that he must have a variance on city rules against building on hillside slopes.  His team claims the project “must” have the variance in order to provide the economic stimulus to Malibu that the hotel is expected to provide. 

And Weintraub’s team claims construction on slopes is “required” for the parking structure.  That’s because the parking structure is proposed to be “notched” into the hillside next two Civic Center Way so as to minimize its view from surrounding areas, and to reduce the already-huge amount of dirt that needs to be moved.

The architects says they chose that instead of the full underground garbage from the plans 10 years ago … plans that were widely derided as too big … 

There is no description … though … as to how to hide a parking garage on the side of the hill.

And then there is this huge variance being requested.  Building on hillside in Malibu is against the rules … it requires a variance to be granted by the city council.

But under state law … a variance can only be granted to give a property owner some equality with other landowners of similar property.  For example, if the hotel next door to this one gets a hillside terraced parking garage  … Weintraub is entitled to a hillside terraced parking garage

There is no hotel next door with a his slide terraced parking garage.   In fact, there is no similar property anywhere in Malibu..

A variance cannot be legally granted just because an applicant feels it’s necessary … as this applicant puts it …to  allow the project to function more efficiently .. with less grading.

As bad as all the above is … just wait till you hear about the earthquake faults running across the property, that the architect neglected to mention.

We will have that part of this disaster tomorrow.

And this conflict of interest notice.

When this gigantic hotel was first proposed 12 years ago … before KBUU went on the air … this reporter filed a lengthy objection to it.

We have requested comment from Weintraub on this resurrected project.

He has not replied except to say he felt we were being unfair … on social media.

And we are committed … now … to reporting both sides … fairly and factually. 


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