The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy board approved the terms of a settlement with the city of Malibu Monday, paving the way for a proposed land swap aimed to put an end to a lawsuit over uses in Ramirez Canyon.
In a closed session at Temescal Canyon Park in Pacific Palisades, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) board approved the terms of the settlement, which is part of a multi-faceted proposal that includes the swap of the city’s ownership of Charmlee Park to the SMMC in exchange for city control of all 93 acres of Bluffs Park.
During open session, SMMC staff reported that the SMMC agreed to keep administrative offices for 15 people as well as a residential housing for the caretaker and family; two weekly special programs for disabled youth or senior citizens; occasional employee trainings; and routine property maintenance in Ramirez Canyon.
The board also approved the $1-per-year ground lease agreement with the city of Malibu for the proposed land swap.
The deal is not yet finalized. The Malibu City Council will have a chance to review the settlement agreement and the proposed land swap at its Jan. 14 meeting at Malibu City Hall.
In August, an appellate court judge upheld a lower court's rejection of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy's plan for overnight camping sites in Malibu. The judge did not provide direction on uses in Ramirez Canyon.
As part of the settlement, the SMMC will adhere “the exact same restrictions that have been in place since 2007,” including not renting out Ramirez Canyon for private events and parties, according to a city of Malibu agenda report.
Before these restrictions were in place, the SMMC sought to rent the facility for private events and weddings, which were disruptive to the neighborhood.
The city of Malibu has been seeking to place a skate park within the parking lot at Bluff’s Park, which has been blocked by the conservancy.
Separately, the board also agreed to send a request for a coastal development permit to the California Coastal Commission for camping sites in Charmlee Wilderness Park and Ramirez Canyon. Both proposals place the camping spaces outside the city of Malibu limits.