Malibu City Council

Pictured, from left: Mayor Pro Tem Skylar Peak, City Council Member Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner, City Council Member Laura Rosenthal, City Council Member Rick Mullen and Mayor Lou La Monte

Photo courtesy City of Malibu

Malibu, according to city staff, is the only beach city in Southern California without a single parking meter—but that may be about to change.

In the face of decades of resistance from the California Coastal Commission, Malibu City Council voted Monday to begin the process of planning for parking meters in various areas across the city, with possible locations for metered parking being Rambla Pacifico, Rambla Vista, Cross Creek Road, Civic Center Way between Cross Creek Road and Webb Way, Malibu Road between Webb Way and PCH (behind the Ralphs Center), Heathercliff Road between Dume Drive and PCH, Cliffside Drive at Point Dume State Park and Westward Beach Road. “How is Coastal going to react to us taking what is now free beach parking and making it metered parking?” Peak asked Public Works Director Bob Brager.

“There are cities, like you said, that do have parking meters along PCH,” Brager replied, “so we would probably inquire with those cities. We’ve actually inquired with Caltrans and they have no problem metering PCH if we requested that.”

“We’re not talking about PCH,” Council Member Lou La Monte said, as it’s a Caltrans roadway. He added that he was “trying to figure out why [the city is] really doing this,” since the money didn’t seem to be the object.

City Manager Reva Feldman said she has discussed the idea with Coastal Commission staff.

“We are the only coastal city that doesn’t have parking meters, which they acknowledged,” Feldman told council. “Preliminarily said they wouldn’t have a lot of issues with us installing parking meters, if some of that revenue could be used to offset the revenue the city spends maintaining and patrolling beaches and providing public safety to visitors.”

Feldman said parking meters could help save taxpayer money—currently from $200,000-300,000 annually—which is currently being spent to patrol beaches not owned by the City of Malibu.

“We’re spending our resources to state-owned beaches … we’re sending our resources there so at some point we’re going to have to increase the number of deputies we have on the beach team,” Feldman said.

Council Member Laura Rosenthal presented the idea of selecting just a few areas in the city to try out the parking meter plan, before implementing it citywide.

The city’s public works department is now tasked with developing a comprehensive parking meter implementation plan for the Civic Center area, Cross Creek Road and Malibu Road, including proposed parking meter locations, types of parking meters and their associated costs and revenues, required actions (permits, ordinances, approvals) necessary to implement the parking meter plan, parking time limits and a timeline for implementation. 

MRCA sent back to drawing board on beach access stairway

A popular beach accessway near Moonshadows in Eastern Malibu was deemed to be unsafe—though no one is sure how old it is, government officials say it was built without permits and outside of zoning laws—but city council isn’t happy with how the proposed replacement was designed. Council members and at least one neighbor expressed concerns the proposed stairs would take up much more of the sandy area of the beach.

E. Randol Schoenberg is a Malibu resident and neighbor to the small public beach. He was the one who initially appealed the new stairway, calling it a waste of money that would not increase anyone’s enjoyment of the area.

“This is $400,000 that is supposed to be used for new public access. We all know what that’s supposed to mean. It’s not supposed to mean this,” Schoenberg told council at the Monday meeting. “We need public access in Malibu and you can’t be wasting it on ruining an already good public beach.”

Paul Edelman of the Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority bristled at the demand to change the agency’s plans, which he said were developed by engineers and shouldn’t be changed “just willy-nilly.”

“Legal access doesn’t increase enjoyment? Safe access?” Edelman asked, later explaining, “Our engineering team recommended putting it where it is based on looking at all the factors.”

“I think you guys need to figure out a way to design this … that makes the bulk of the beach more accessible to the public,” Mayor Skylar Peak said.

The MRCA was given until the Jan. 22 city council meeting to design a new staircase. 

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