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Plans for Updated Lighting at Trancas Country Market Draw Criticism

The plans include a parking lot with 43 pole mounted lights, 12 to 20 feet tall at the Trancas Country Market in Malibu.

Plans for renovations and updated lighting at the Trancas Country Market are drawing some concerns from neighbors at Malibu West.

A public hearing on a request to amend a coastal development permit for the market's previously approved lighting plan will likely not be heard until the Nov. 19 Planning Commission meeting at Malibu City Hall.

The early design of the plans include a parking lot with 43 pole mounted lights, 12 to 20 feet tall.

"The lighting concept plan further indicates that the developer's goal was to keep the light levels as low as feasible in an effort to 'keep home owners and local HOA (with roughly 250 families) happy," a city staff report dated Sept. 27 states.

According to an updated staff report released Thursday, the developer is working with Malibu West home owners to address their concerns about the proposed lighting plan, and to give more time for public input on the project.

In an email attached to the report, neighbors have asked that lights at all reserved employee parking spaces be turned off once the businesses are closed and that lighting be reduced at night to the current levels.

A representative for the project wrote in the email that some lights will need to be left on for security purposes, but that the goal is to keep the lighting level low.

At an earlier Planning Commission meeting in October, Hans Laetz of Malibu spoke against the proposed lighting plan.

"It looks like they are trying to keep it very low intensity and very low altitude. I am concerned which the light fixtures they are choosing are not shielded," Laetz said.

He said the developers have also worked to protect the Trancas Lagoon. He said Caltrans has not been satisfied by the amount of space dedicated for a right turn lane.

"They’ve made a real good faith effort in terms of keeping us happy," Laetz said.

Cindy Vandor, a Malibu activist, spoke out against the plans for the shopping center.

"These developers have a lot of work to do to make traffic safer, and you have to make them do it," Vandor said. "Or else someone is going to get killed just trying to get in or out of Malibu West."

She asked commissioners to dedicate an easement for a road for emergency evacuation of Malibu West.

"Lives are at stake but these developers don't care. Scott Rozier and the Dubberts sent lawyers to fight this. They didn't care about the survival of residents, when there are emergencies, they didn't want us to be able to evacuate and get ambulances and fire trucks into Trancas Canyon," Vandor said.

She also requested a safe bus accessible bus stop turn around and waiting area.

In a blog on Malibu Patch, former Public Safety Commissioner Susan Tellem encouraged Malibu residents to oppose the lighting plans.

"We're heading full steam ahead into death by a thousand cuts," Tellem wrote.

Terry October 31, 2012 at 12:32 AM
hotel at malibu canyon, hotel at paridise cove, nuclear power plant at deer creek, causeway through the santa monica mountains, fully built out civic center. need we say more?
Mark Carr November 02, 2012 at 03:50 AM
I was told they doubled the pole request because they were told it would be cut in half. We also learned the style that was selected did not offer a shield which adds more cost per unit. Wake up Malibu West/Hollywoods coming to your corner!
V.P.A. November 02, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Hans. Sarah Wan's request! Malibu is not the rest of The United States of America. It is it's own place, geographically has it's specifics & is on the edge of the Continent. We don't come off an assembly line! MTC have done & do a wonderful job, with, I believe, less hidden agenda of commercialism. Have lived in Malibu since the 40's. It is now overcrowded, excess development of a tract variety; hence some of our geographic & other problems. It may also be one of our strengths in fighting nuclear, hotels, chain stores, etc. There are many here because of the cache of the postcode but who are uncomfortable in a rural area. My suggestion. Keep a beach bolt hole, have a ranch & live in town. There is the best of both worlds! Or, live in Malibu; enjoy & encourage what a lot of the rest of the United States hasn't but would love to; outstanding natural environment - the mountains, ocean, wildlife et al. Cont'd/
V.P.A. November 02, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Bright night lights on poles of unconscionable height belong in urban environments. We can't expect to keep nature's offerings by imposing unessential - harmful to nature of every kind - selfish human indulgences of an urbanite variety, & the folie des grandeurs we have to which the Council has kow-towed (sp?). Let's encourage whatever's left of our farms, vineyards etc. yes, & our equestrian inhabitants. They are being squeezed out when they are the basic fabric of this area. Permit the lights & I can guarantee (almost) that a Domino effect will eventually follow. Look how some of the houses are lit up. It's shocking when Malibu is observed from the sky, or a neighbour has to put up with the effect of someone else's lights. It's painful in a house or restaurant on the beach at night & see how the ocean is search-lighted with no consideration for marine life that suffer dreadfully. Yet it's allowed with impunity! Developers are out for a buck, realtors can't have enough stock!!!! We need a serious reality check without rancour. There must be a limit.
Hans Laetz November 02, 2012 at 04:33 PM
You make so many good points. particularly about the abundance of nouveaux-riche mansions where lights point up in the air, or out to sea. I only wish the vehemence and emotion about the modest and appropriate lights at the school were matched against all the illegal and over-the-top light pollution in Malibu. I would argue that the new lights for the kids, and the proposed lights near my house at Trancas, are a reaction to the excesses that you mention. There are severe restrictions at the school. I looked closely at the lightning plan at Trancas, and I ALMOST agree with what the city says -- it will ALMOST be a very dim, inobstrusive lighting system for the safety of the patrons and employees. I say almost because the lights will be aimed at lighting up the white buildings, and that's a no-no under the city ordinances. Use fixtures that put the light where it is needed, on walkways and the parking lot, and not on the buildings, and that problem is solved. I spent yesterday circling the high school and taking pictures of the poles. It is astounding how small they are in perspective, when compared to the power poles, ugly wires, fences and other visual impediments to seeing the ocean. The huge visual impact of the ugly utility polesand wires that have been there for 60 years is far greater than the neat and trim lights on the campus.

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