Malibu High School Field Lighting Returns to Planning Commission
• Staff Recommends Approval for Revised Plan That Includes Four Permanent Light Poles and Restricted Use
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
City staff is recommending that the City of Malibu's Planning Commission approve a Coastal Development Permit and Conditional Use Permit for the installation and limited operation of four 70-foot permanent light standards on the main sports field at Malibu High School. The item is on the agenda for the June 5 meeting, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Malibu City Hall.
The CUP is the last hurdle in a long, complicated battle to bring permanent lights to the MHS campus.
The plan, which originated as part of Measure BB-funded improvements planned for the Malibu campus in 2008, and originally included an open-ended number of nights of light with no environmental mitigation met with a firestorm of outrage from Malibu Park residents and environmentalists.
The City of Malibu was able to change the city's Local Coastal Program to permit the lights. The California Coastal Commission, after initially rejecting the lighting plan on a unanimous vote, voted to approve the lights with a number of restrictions and environmental mitigation.
The current plan proposes the installation and limited operation of four 70- foot-tall permanent light standards on the main sports field at MMHS. "Lighting of the main sports field at MMHS is [now] a conditionally permitted use in the Local Coastal Program and the Malibu Municipal Code subject to the lighting and avian monitoring requirements of LCP Local Implementation Plan," the staff report states.
"The required standards for lighting the main sports field are as follows: a. Lighting shall be minimized, directed downward, and shielded using the best available visor technology and pole height and design that minimizes light spill, sky glow, and glare impacts to public views and wildlife to the maximum extent feasible. b. Lighting may only occur for a maximum of three (3) days in any calendar week and must be limited to the following time restrictions: i. During Pacific Standard Time (defined as of 2011 to be the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March), the lights may be illuminated no later than 7:30 p.m. except as indicated below. ii. From each September 1 through May 31 period, inclusive, the lights may only be illuminated after 7:30 p.m. up to 18 times, and then (a) only until 10:30 p.m., (b) never on consecutive nights, and (c) on no more than two nights in any given calendar week. iii. The lights may not be illuminated at any time between June 1 and August 31, inclusive, of any year.
"The applicant is proposing field lighting that would be used for school-related practices and games in accordance with the design and scheduling restrictions established under UP Section 6.5(G). In the event that lighting is used during fall and/or spring bird migration periods, an avian monitoring plan is required pursuant to the provisions outlined in UP Section 4.6.2(G)(3).
"The four light standards would be installed on the outer edge of the track surrounding the main sports field at approximately the ten-yard lines. The diameter of each light standard is approximately 19 inches wide at grade level tapering to approximately ten inches at the top of the 70 foot height. The standards are constructed of galvanized steel. "The top of each pole would be equipped with twelve Light Structures.
Green (LSG) fixtures divided on two cross arms spanning 12.3 feet in length, for a combined total of 48 fixtures. Six fixtures would be installed on each cross arm.
Each fixture would utilize a 1500-watt lamp and outfitted with an LSG 14 inch visor that fully covers a third of the surface lens. The LSG visor would direct light downward, reduce the spill of light into the sky, and reduce glare. The average illumination on the field's surface is proposed at 50.8 foot candles (maximum 63 foot candles and minimum 36 foot candles) (Attachment 6)."
Although the lights reportedly remain controversial in the Malibu Park neighborhood, opponents of the original plan opted not to appeal the amended plan approved by the Coastal Commission.
Parents and the school's athletic booster organization are currently raising $600,000 to fund the installation of the lights.
Installation of the poles is anticipated to span approximately 21 days beginning in the summer of 2012 when school is not in session.
The staff report is available online at www.malibucity.com