Two Malibu groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the installation of 70-foot lights at 's athletic field.
The Malibu Community Preservation Alliance and the Malibu Township Council filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, July 25.
In response to the filing, Malibu City Attorney Christi Hogin said the city stands by its decision to approve the lights.
"We’re disappointed that this has come to litigation, but we are prepared to defend the city’s decision," Hogin said.
On June 26, the Malibu City Council granted a coastal development permit and a temporary use permit for the construction of the lights, which will only be allowed for a . The council also required the school district to take down 12-foot cross bars on the lights from June 1 through August 31.
The lawsuit alleges that the Malibu City Council abandoned a compromise reached between residents and the school district in 2010 to allow temporary lighting for 16 nights out of the year.
"This will light up all of west Malibu like a professional stadium," said Steve Uhring, a member of the . "It is an egregious violation of the compromise that the community worked so hard to achieve with the district."
According to Hogin, the council only put in place the maximum number of nights the lights can be used.
"The city is setting the limit. If there is a compromise to be had, nothing would stand in the way of those parties reaching that agreement," Hogin said.
The groups also claim the Malibu City Council violated the city's Local Coastal Program and Municipal Code when it took the proposed lights under consideration in June without a public hearing before the Malibu Planning Commission. The council voted on the project because of conflicts by three Malibu planning commissioners.
Commissioner Mikke Pierson and Roohi Stack donated to The Shark Fund, which was set up by a group of parents to benefit projects at Malibu High School, including the lights project. Commissioner Jeffrey Jennings lives within 500 feet of the campus.
The lawsuit claims that even though there were not enough commissioners to create a quorum, California law allows under the rule of necessity to select one of the members to proceed.
In addition, the groups allege that the City of Malibu did not adequately take into account the full impact of the 70-foot lights.
“Due to the rural nature of the surrounding community and the absence of streetlights, lighting levels in the vicinity of the school campus are substantially less than are typical in residential areas. As a result, the introduction of high intensity stadium lighting on the school campus will directly and uniquely impact the surrounding community,” the lawsuit states.
Hogin said the city took special care to lessen the impact of the lights.
"The council imposed some pretty strict conditions in order to mitigate the impact. The requirement that the light standards come off the pole during the months that the field should not be in use at night is an important condition. That really does create a relatively unobstructed view during the summer months," Hogin said.
Malibu Patch will have more on this story soon.