The July 1 Malibu Planning Commission meeting was contentious, to say the least. The topic at hand? A city council-proposed ordinance to reduce the size of development homeowners are permitted to build on residential lots.

Julie Ellerton, The Malibu Times multimedia director, went around Malibu to ask the following question: What’s your opinion on the proposed reduction of square footage property owners may develop? 

Here are their responses. 

Editor's note: Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Joshua Spiegel

“I believe that the city council and planning commission are pulling the rug out from its residents. Fire victims especially, we have a whole lot of uncertainty here in Malibu and, all of a sudden, they want to change the game. We have seven permits issued and there are hundreds and hundreds to go. People don’t know what they’re going to do with their properties and you’re completely changing the value, the property rights, everything, right in the biggest darkest moment of our lives.”

Jessica Beaudette

“I’m a 17-year resident of Malibu and, like many residents, our home was saved from the fire by us, not the fire department. I’ve also been managing properties in Malibu for at least 17 years, so I know a lot of homeowners and many people have lost their homes; it’s unfair to restrict square footage. We are currently in city planning; we’ve been in for a year and a half with our home and we would have to redo all of our plans in order to fit these new restrictions. We live in a democracy and city council works for us.”

David Saul

“I’ve lived here [Malibu]—30 years. I’ve been a commissioner in the city for 10 years. I was public safety commissioner. I think this whole situation is a joke. I think you can’t deny people the economic advantage that they have or the economic advantage that they want to have at the end of owning their property. I find it really inconsiderate and inconceivable that the city would take away someone’s economic ability to make money, because obviously one of our best investments is property and property always goes up; that’s why we bought here.”

Henry Woods

“I lived in Malibu, Big Rock Beach, we bought a house in ’64—my parents did—and we loved it. [I] went to Malibu Park Jr. High School and Santa Monica High School. My parents gifted me a lot, right across the street from La Costa Beach Club … We payed $22,000 and a probate for it. I turned down a million bucks. It would be horrible, I said—when it’s five million I’ll sell it or maybe even build on it—that was my dream when I was a child. That’s what I’m going to live on. For them to take my property from me like this and devalue it? I think that’s horrible.”

Cherie Iseppi

“It was amazing how the Malibu community came together today. I hope the city hears their concerns and recognizes the volume of residents that feel affected and would like the opportunity to vote on this matter. I also hope what comes of this, if any resolution would hold up the planning process in legislation, that it does not delay the current building process and recovery of our city and fire victims and that we can move forward. I hope there is a continued protection of rights for all affected after a natural disaster.”

Patt Healy

“The Coalition for Slow Growth concern is that the large mansions are being built by speculators and being bought by people who don’t want to live in Malibu. They’re being purchased by investors, drug rehabilitation centers and short-term rental houses and they’re popping up in the residential neighborhoods and destroying the sense of community within them. We’re hoping that the council can find a solution for this.” [Editor’s note: This was statement was given via phone call to The Malibu Times.]

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