Malibu Mountains Golf Course Redesign and Expansion Is Planned
• Proposal Involves 40 Units for Overnight Accommodations and No Permanent Residences
BY BILL KOENEKER
An Environmental Impact Report being prepared to assess planned development at the Malibu Golf Club high in the hills above Malibu include a remodeled 18-hole golf course on a 107 acres of a 650-acre property and 200,000 square feet of new development, according to county documents.
The development in the Santa Monica Mountains consists of 48,164 square feet of educational and meeting facilities, along with 109,164 square feet of a hotel/resort/ recreation facility including overnight accommodations that are not residential units as previously reported.
“They have no kitchens. They are not for sale. They would be for overnight accommodations,” said Tom Hix, managing member of the golf course owner, Malibu Associates, LLC, calling the project the Malibu Institute, which will have an affiliation with the University of Southern California.
Hix said the buildings house 37 units clustered in a 20-acre area, and not on the hillsides of the golf course.
The “bungalows,” as Hix calls them, are 2500 to 3200 square feet in size and would be open to the public if USC is not utilizing them.
Part of the confusion that was circulated about the proposal in an earlier article in the Malibu Surfside News stems from a website for an entity also called Malibu Institute, which is not the website of the developers.
“Some of your information in your [previous] article is incorrect and was obtained from a website erroneously calling their project the ‘Malibu Institute.’ The rendering and floor plan elevations utilized in the article are also incorrect and have nothing to do with our project. Our website for the project is under construction and the domain address is www.themalibusintitute.com. We expect to have our website up in the next week or so,” wrote Hix in an email.
Hix emphasized the changes sought to redo the golf course will make for an environmentally friendly facility.
He said the fairways will be “sandcapped,” meaning sand will be used as the planting medium allowing plant roots to directly absorb fertilizers and pesticides. “That takes less of those,” Hix added. He said a new generation of drought tolerant grasses will be used.
The redesigned golf course would continue to operate as a public golf facility, as well as being available to USC and guests of the Malibu Institute, according to county documents.
The 18-hole course layout would be reconfigured using the acreage of 17 of the existing holes on about 107 acres of the existing 118-acre golf course with the turf area reduced to approximately 62 acres.
By clustering development of the buildings and accommodations on approximately 20 acres and the remodeled golf course on 107 acres in the southern portion of the 650-acre property, it is maintained that over 450 acres of native coastal scrub and chaparral, including oak woodland forest would be left undisturbed and become permanently dedicated open space, according to Hix.
Grading for the buildout would consist of approximately 120,000 cubic yards of cut and 120,000 cubic yards of fill. No import or export of fill material would be required.
The multiple septic tanks throughout the property would be removed and replaced by an on-site wastewater treatment and recycling system providing effluent treatment meeting Title 22 standards for reuse as irrigation for the remodeled course, according to county documents.
Hix said the treatment plant would be designed for processing about 50,000 gallons per day, according to Hix.
The project would need approval from Los Angeles County and the California Coastal Commission for a coastal permit.
The facility was purchased in September, 2006, when Malibu Associates, a then newly formed LLC, acquired the property from Fuji International, Inc.
At that time, investors indicated they had plans for improving the course and said they were still reviewing a number of options.
A previous owner of the course, the Church of Liberty, a Japan-based organization, caused an uproar in western Malibu when it announced plans in the mid-1980s to develop homes around the golf course.
Malibu West homeowners felt particularly threatened because of the threat of stormwater runoff, potential flooding and other problems they believed could find its way downstream via Trancas Canyon Creek, past their homes—some of which are located on the banks of the stream.
The golf course in located in the Trancas-Zuma Canyon watershed, an area that is a top acquisition priority for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
In 2012, the Obama Administration included $2.4 million in its Fiscal Year 2013 Budget to acquire and protect up to 238 acres of land in Zuma and Trancas canyons
The land was one of just six nationwide land acquisition priorities in the budget and the only project in California.