Yet Another 3-2 Split, As Council Approves New House In Big Rock Landslide Zone

Written by on October 12, 2021

A proposed new house in the middle of the Big Rick landslide zone was approved last night by the Malibu city council.

It was yet another 3 to 2 vote … with Bruce Silverstein and Steve uhring casting the no votes.

The applicant for the house was aksing for the same type of hillside variance that his neighbors have.

The applicant … Johnathan Day … pointed to thick city studies … that showed his house will be as safe as all the other houses on the Big Rock Mesa.


I have been at this … trying to build a house … on a lot zoned for residential … for over seven years now.  I have literally followed what I was told to do by the city every step of the way … Make adjustments that I thought would be improvements for neighbors … improvements for view corridors …. make it better for for people in the area.”

The opponents … his neighbors … say that the city failed to require earthquake studies.

And they said the house could further destabilize the Big Rock Mesa.

For centuries … Big Rock Mesa has been an active landslide.

30 years ago there was abig one … houses were destroyed.

A dewatering system … holes drilled into the mesa to drain water … has stabilized things.

Opponents … represented by Don Kobeleski


You have a variance that may be allowable form a planning standpoint … but you do not have a variance from the building code.  And the building code very clearly states when you can and cannot do a new habitable building in a landslide. And a new habitable structure is not allowable.”

Silverstein and Uhring accused the city staff of taking sides … in favor of the applicant.

Silverstein last night ….


The staff has gone through contortions to authorize this project … and it is inconceivable that they are not going to the same contortions to approve the seismic study that is ultimately done after the fact or the displacement study that is going to be done after the fact.”

Uhring said requiring the seismic study after the variance is granted simply reinforces the attitude among some … that city hall is acting in secret.

The council majority voted … in effect … that the city staff could be trusted to look at the seismic tests objectively.

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