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LETTER: Malibu Township Council Opposes Charmlee Land Swap

The group's board of directors asks for a town hall meeting so the public has a chance to discuss the merits of the proposed land swap.

The Malibu Township Council strongly opposes the proposed trade of Charmlee Park to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for the remaining, undeveloped portion of Bluffs Park.

Public notice and discussion has not occurred because the issue was made part of the Ramriez lawsuit settlement, but neither park has anything to do with that lawsuit. The issues are unrelated.

This flawed proposal appears to be rushed so as to prevent public disclosure and public input. Proper public notice should be given, and a town hall meeting held, before ANY decisions are made. We don’t need to jump to Joe Edmiston’s schedule.

A substantial benefit to the City has not been established.

1. The California Supreme Court confirmed the city’s right to prohibit overnight camping in the City. Camping is no longer a threat to Bluffs Park and Malibu Road, nor justification to trade it for Charmlee. Giving Charmlee to a State agency denies that same protection that exists today for western Malibu’s homes.

2. The trade is imbalanced on its face, providing only 83 acres for the City’s 590 acres.

3. Bluffs Park is primarily ESHA which can’t be used for development such as a Skateboard Park. The city has been offered several acres in the vicinity to be used for sports activity.

4. The Regional Water Quality Board’s septic moratorium applies to Bluffs Park - the wastewater system cannot be expanded to accommodate more users.

There is no way to predict whether ANY of the suggested uses at Bluffs Park would ever be realized. Giving up 590 acre Charmlee in the hope that the Coastal Commission would allow development in Open Space and ESHA is an unacceptable gamble.

The proposal violates Sections 30253 and 30210 of the Coastal Act which requires risks to life and property be minimized in areas of high fire hazard and the proposal must be consistent with public safety. This proposal fails to comply.

Malibu is in a Very High Fire Hazard Zone. The Conservancy’s stated goal to provide overnight camping in Charmlee Park would sacrifice the whole west end of Malibu, and subject it to increased risk of fire. 

Charmlee extends all the way down to PCH. More than 700 homes – many with multiple residents or families – exist within 2 miles of Charmlee Park. Thousands of people would be exposed to increased fire risks. The portion of Charmlee where campsites are proposed is remote -- with minimal improvements.

Supervising campers to enforce no fires would be very difficult and labor intensive. Just one match or discarded cigarette could start a raging wildfire that would quickly reach hundreds of homes. Limited water service and lack of all-weather roads compromises fire-fighting capability. If a fire started at night -- the time a camper would start a fire for cooking or heat -- a disaster of huge proportions could occur.  Remember the Corral fire?

This proposal is a project that requires CEQA evaluation. Has that been done? If so, MTC requests that document.

The first priority of the City is to protect residents’ safety; enabling overnight camping just beyond the city border would accomplish the opposite result.

For all of the above reasons, deny this proposal, or continue this hearing, to a time when these deficiencies have been addressed and corrected.

Malibu Township Council, Board of Directors

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Cindy Vandor January 15, 2013 at 01:38 AM
Thank you, Malibu Township Council! MTC are the true stewards of Malibu's precious resources.
Ben Dover January 15, 2013 at 01:55 AM
The Malibu Township Council does more to preserve Malibu then our own city council. Lou Lamonte, Laura Rosenthal , John Sibert , Joan House, you be be ashamed of yourselves. Thank You MTC......
Andy Lyon January 15, 2013 at 06:07 PM
City of Malibu likes to negotiate with their ass in the air.
Sarah January 15, 2013 at 07:23 PM
This proposed land swap is the worst idea ever. To put all of West Malibu at higher wildfire risk in exchange for a skatepark is just idiotic. I don't believe for one second that Charmalee will remain the same and there will be no camping. How does this benefit the majority of Malibu's residents? It doesn't.

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