Letter addressed to Malibu residents

Did you know that commercial developers are allowed to “buy an approval” from our city planning department?

Many of you received a text message about a week ago from Action Network about a project called the Sea View Hotel and either ignored it or sent in public comments opposing the project like I did, not fully understanding what was happening with it. 

Being a new member of the Coalition for Slow Growth, I did some research and found that commercial buildings often get special treatment in Malibu. The project was fast tracked and the developer was offered a “deal” for $1 million (now $800K) to get his special overlay district. It does not have the right zoning designation, and a multitude of code violations including no variance that is required for building on a slope (which avoids all kinds of geological testing required for the safety of the inhabitants as well as the neighbors) and does not reach the minimum parking and traffic standards. It will be dangerous for residents in indeed the busiest, most dangerous area of the PCH (across from Nobu and Soho House). A six-story hotel with rooftop decks and overhangs is hardly the least environmentally damaging option with the much expanded OWTS system for over 100 people per day. The developer did say he would put a shop there if anything so he himself has prepared for a denial but it seems the city really wants his money. At minimum a CEQA approval should be required as stated in the project’s description.

Regardless of whether the $800K can benefit the community through City Hall, can this hotel truly benefit Malibu with all its current violations of city and zoning codes?

During the hearing I also didn’t understand one council member’s rationale for the .61 or so per parking space per room, as at least one car per guest, possibly two, will be coming into the hotel. And most of their staff is not accounted any parking spaces, ie. none of the housekeeping staff. My housekeeper drives so I'm sure many of them do, too.

Please pay attention to projects coming to city council for decisions as they all will seriously impact Malibu residents’ safety and is not the slow rural development promised with cityhood. (Note: all the newly merged lots with mega mansions along PCH.) Instead of lining the city coffers, we should be following the codes to the letter as they were designed for our safety. The decision on this one will be heard Aug. 19, so please tune in to the virtual meeting and/or send an email to citycouncil@malibucity.org to voice your concern. 

Jo Drummond

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