Broad Beach GHAD Gets Council OK
• How to Represent Malibu West HOA Had to Be Resolved
BY BILL KOENEKER
A little wrinkle developed when the Malibu City Council agreed this week to considering setting a public hearing date to consider approving a petition for this week for the formation of the Broad Beach Geological Hazard Abatement District, or GHAD, when the Malibu West Homeowners Association, its president and an attorney came asking the HOA to be included on the GHAD board of directors.
The council was also set to approve the plan of control and appoint five property owners to the initial board of directors of the GHAD. The planning staff recommended the council appoint property owners Steven Levitan, Zan Marquis, Norton Karno, Marshall Grossman and Jeff Lotman as the initial directors for terms not to exceed four years.
Steve Rucker, Malibu West HOA president, said residents were extremely excited about creating a beautiful new beach with the other property owners at Broad Beach. The HOA owns a lot and would be one of the property owners in the assessment district.
Rucker said with 237 homeowners as part of the HOA, which owns 105 feet of beach frontage and a building used for commercial use, they wanted representation on the board.
The HOA's attorney Ben Benumof said there were many unanswered questions about the plan of control and it would be worthwhile for a Malibu West homeowner to be on the GHAD board.
The council was told there was no opposition to the formation of the GHAD and it appeared—after a show of hands for support—many Broad Beach residents came to show their overwhelming support for the GHAD.
When it appeared there was council approval for the formation of the GHAD, the wrangling began on how the Malibu West HOA could be represented on the GHAD board.
"How do we accommodate the Malibu West HOA?" asked Councilmember Jefferson Wagner.
"I agree with Jay," said Councilmember Laura Rosenthal. "How did you come up with the five owners?"
Council members were told the owners had already worked years on the project and represented different geographical regions of the beach.
At first when council members asked the attorneys representing the Trancas Property Owners Association about a Malibu West HOA, they were told "No one will step in the way."
However, after details were explored about how a Malibu West HOA representative could be installed on the board, the wrangling began in earnest.
City Attorney Christi Hogin said, "I'd be reluctant to monkey with the politics of that. The group has been working a long time. Mr. Grossman says he is stepping down in a year and I would take that to the bank."
Council members intent on having Malibu West represented kept pressing for a way that could happen. There was a discussion about an advisory member. Talk about if the "up to four years" terms could be changed or if more than five members could be appointed to a GHAD board.
Council members also wanted to know why the Malibu West HOA was making the request so late in the game.
"It is a recent thing," said Rucker. "The notion of the GHAD is becoming apparent. We are the poor kids on the block. Malibu West is a modest neighborhood by Malibu standards."
"I can understand Malibu West HOA interests. I want them to be represented," said Mayor John Sibert.
Hogin replied, "I did not hear any resistance to an appointment." A motion was suggested for the council to appoint an advisory board member for Malibu West.
But, then the GHAD attorney said firstly that Marshall would step down in one year. Then he suggested the council could leave the matter up to the GHAD board.
La Monte said why not call for an ex-officio board member decided by the GHAD. Sibert and Wagner went along with the motion, but Rosenthal dissented. Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich was absent.
According to the staff report, there is no immediate fiscal impact to the city. Once the GHAD has been formed, a funding mechanism has been approved by the board and affected property owners, the costs associated with the operation of the GHAD will be offset by assessments paid by the property owners within the district.
There was debate at the previous city council meeting when at least one property owner and the attorney representing the homeowner took issue with the majority opinion. but not without hearing from one property owner, who is vehemently opposed to it.
"The property on little Broad Beach is geologically different. They all have sea walls. It is a bad deal. It won't control erosion. It just adds sand. The plan of control does not address erosion," said an attorney attonery for the dissenting homeowners.
However, there was a show of many hands for the the formation of the GHAD and the plan which includes beach nourishment or replacement of sand.
Steven Levinson said he lives west of little Broad Beach, but believes the proposal offers great benefits for the homeowners. "We would like Broad Beach to not be ironic."
Dolly Martin said since 1970 when she moved to Broad Beach she has lost 40 feet of her property. "The GHAD is the only way to go. It is putting the sand on the beach for the people. I can't afford $250,000 [upfront]. The GHAD will allow me to keep [my property]," she said.
The GHAD petition was submitted by attorney Kenneth Ehrlich on behalf of the Trancas Property Owners Association.
The GHAD will provide a means of financing the beach nourishment and associated maintenance, city council members were told.
"The city Department of Public Works has reviewed the proposed plan of control and has determined that public health, safety and welfare require the formation of a GHAD," a staff report states.
"I assume little Broad Beach and Broad Beach can work this out. There is no beach there. To replace the sand and make it a Broad Beach is a good idea," he said.
The proposed action stems from the overall plans proposed for Broad Beach where experts have determined there has been a significant change in the width of the beach since 1946.
Broad Beach has experienced variable, but declining beach width at a rate of about two feet per year, according to experts.
"Between 1974 and 2009 approximately 600,000 cubic yards of sand was lost at Broad Beach, a majority of which has moved east to nourish Zuma Beach. On average, the shoreline moved inland 65 feet," a report from Moffatt and Nichol in April 2010 concluded.
"The sand rate turned negative in 1974 and the loss rate accelerated to approximately 35,000 cubic yards per year during the last five years Recent higher erosion rates during the 2009-2010 winter season necessitated that emergency precautions be taken to protect residential structures and onsite wastewater treatment systems located seaward of the residences." The report went on to state.
Consequently, the TPOA obtained emergency permits for the installation of a rock revetment about five feet high and 25 feet wide, to protect the existing homes along the beach, city officials noted.
The property owners are now working on getting permits to allow a permanent buried rock revetment along with the periodic sand nourishment. The California Coastal Commission is the permitting agency and will oversee the project.
Planners say it appears at the public hearing that owners of more than 50 percent of the assessed valuation of the proposed district object to the formation. If less than 50 percent submit objections, then the city council can move forward and form the GHAD. The proposed Broad Beach GHAD would span the entirety of Broad Beach and a portion of Victoria Point concluding with 6525 Point Lechuza.
GHADs, according to the planning staff, are a political subdivision of the state and are formed in specific geographic areas to address potential geological hazards. The purpose of a GHAD is to prevent, mitigate, control or abate defined geologic hazards through maintenance improvements or other means.
Financing of a GHAD is accomplished through an assessment of only those property owners who own real estate within the boundaries of the designated district, issuing and serving of bonds, notes or other debentures is also authorized under a GHAD. The assessment will be based on a engineer's report, which is being prepared by ENGEO, Inc, according to city planners.
The assessments and associated financing of the GHAD improvements would be overseen entirely by the GHAD board.
In an email sent to local media late Tuesday night from Rucker, who described it as "a joint statement to the press," Rucker wrote, "Despite the decision at last night's city council meeting to deny Malibu West's request to have a designated Malibu West member on the GHAD board, the Malibu West board and the Trancas Property Owners Association want our neighbors to know that we have a strong working relationship and a mutual trust in our ability to work within the GHAD to benefit the beach. Subsequent to last night's meeting the newly appointed GHAD Board communicated to Malibu West the intention of adding a Malibu West designee as an advisory member to work closely with the GHAD Board. Malibu West appreciates the graciousness of this prompt action by the Broad Beach property owners and their representatives."