Rambla Pacifico Ribbon-Cutting Planned
• Residents Complete Emergency Access Road on Their Own
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Lower Rambla Pacifico Road Owners Association announced the reopening of the slide beleaguered canyon roadway is expected any day this week and that a ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for Sunday, Oct. 23, at 11 a.m.
Scott Dittrich, the president of LRPROA stated in an email that after 27 years Rambla Pacifico Road is almost complete.
This $4 million project will finally serve the residents of the disaster-prone canyon as an emergency ingress and egress.
The design, planning and construction of the road, which went on for years, has been filled with bumps and roadblocks.
Even this year, during the final construction days of the road, the Road Owners Association went back before the Malibu Planning Commission to readjust where the gates were going to go and, almost a year before, sought an amendment to their coastal permit for design changes to the road construction.
The planning panel approved a redesign that allowed for building two retaining walls, one 18 feet high tall and one eight-foot high wall, along the edge of the approved roadway.
During construction of the roadway, according to planning staff report, grading occurred outside of the LRPROA easement and encroached onto the Malibu La Costa Owners' Association property addressed as 3850 Rambla Pacifico.
As the grading on the property was not approved by the MLCOA, a stop work order was issued by the city. Since that time, the ROA submitted plans to restore the cut areas on the La Costa property and everyone agreed about the scope of work.
However, the two parties could not come to an agreement regarding additional grading on the MLCOA property, which could have resulted in allowing the two approved gravity retaining walls along the edge of the MLCOA property to be buried beneath finished grade.
Without an agreement to complete grading outside of the roadway easement on the MLCOA property, the exposed gravity retaining walls would have measured 18 feet and eight feet in height as measured from finish to grade.
"Since the finished height of the two retaining walls exceeded the maximum height allowed under coastal plan, they can not be found in substantial conformance with the walls approved under the coastal permit," wrote Senior Planner Stephanie Danner.
The city required an amendment to the approved permit with the inclusion of a variance.
Danner concluded that due to the fixed location of the roadway easement and the existing topographic conditions in the area along the lower portion of the reconstruction area, the height of the proposed gravity retaining walls was necessary to construct the roadway.
The commission also granted approval for the installation of drainage improvements.
Last December, the road association appeared before the city council, which approved vacating a portion of Rambla Pacifico Road, and agreed to take a non-vehicular access for public use across the vacated right-of-way.
The city attorney acknowledged that various parties had raised concerns about ownership of the property owners' easements and the ownership interests of the ROA. "It is still ongoing," the city attorney said at the time, but noted that claims that the road easements would revert to the adjacent property owners appeared to not be true. "It is unfolding as the ROA said it would," the city attorney added.
The LRPROA has finally completed the private emergency access road and are ready to reopen Rambla Pacifico Road.