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Malibu Planning Commission approves MRCA's PCH beach access plans — again

Lauren Coughlin, Editor
11:24 am PDT May 18, 2017

A previously approved beach access plan, located between the 20400-20500 blocks of Pacific Coast Highway, again landed before the Malibu Planning Commission May 15, after neighbors to the project said they did not receive public notice of the item.

Senior Planner Richard Mollica said the applicant, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, mailed notices, but staff found that “the majority of occupant labels did have an error with their address.” 

This time around, the project — which now included a new stairway location due to a negotiation between MRCA and a property neighbor — again coasted through with a 4-0 nod (Mikke Pierson was absent from the meeting), though two of the property’s neighbors remained concerned with the plans.  

One of those neighbors was Randol Schoenberg, who raised the noticing issue after the initial project approval on Dec. 5. 

“This beach already has an open public access point, an unlocked gate and good stairs down to the beach, and is used daily by the public,” Schoenberg wrote in a May 11 letter to the commission, a copy of which was provided to the Surfside. “The proposal is merely a costly remodel of the existing public access. 

“We, the neighbors, are not opposed to the existing public access on this beach. We are concerned about the wasteful use of funds dedicated for new public access on a project that will decrease public enjoyment of this small beach.”

A staff report notes that the site does currently include a “chain link fence, wooden staircase, railroad tie stairs and wood view platforms that were placed onsite without permits.” 

The new development of the site is recommended to include a 6-foot tall visually permeable fence with a locking gate, as well as a new staircase with a landing and decomposed granite walkway.

Jessica Nguyen, of the MRCA, said the group preferred a 4-foot fence rather than a 6-foot fence, but staff did not budge.

“We got burned on that one on Malibu Road, so I think that’s a dead issue,” said Commissioner John Mazza, referencing the beach accessway site at 24038 Malibu Road, which has presented security issues.

Overall, Nguyen said the new plans will “provide safer and more secure access.”

Neighbor Marilou Miller also spoke at the meeting, noting a concern of how the beach is used today by visitors.

“The people that find this access to this beach on the apps on your smartphones are young kids,” she said. “They come down there, they drink beer, they throw Frisbees, they have dogs not on leashes, they leave their trash.”

Miller further added that the lack of bathroom facilities on or near the beach furthers the issue, too.

Nguyen said the new site will include signs which clarify appropriate uses of the beach. She said signs will indicate that dogs are prohibited, that no alcohol is allowed and that adjacent properties should be respected. Signs will also warn of high tides and beach conditions, she added.

Further, MRCA plans to include trash receptacles, Nguyen said, and MRCA rangers are expected to patrol the sites weekly.

The site is expected to be unlocked from sunrise to sunset, and visitors are expected to park along PCH.

Round it up

A brief recap of action from the May 15 meeting of the Malibu Planning Commission.

• Mikke Pierson was nominated to be the chairman of the Planning Commission, and Chris Marx was nominated to the role of Vice Chairman.

• Discussion of the Malibu Memorial Park Project was continued to the June 5 Planning Commission meeting.