Just days before work is expected to begin on the Malibu Lagoon, the Malibu City Council explored ways to delay the start of the project.
City Manager Jim Thorsen told the council on Tuesday the California Coastal Commission considered a letter from the city that outlined problems with State Park’s proposed dewatering plan, but went ahead and issued the permit.
“At this point in time, it appears State Parks is going to abandon that dewatering plan and come up with a new dewatering plan,” Thorsen said, adding that the city is working to see the new plan. State Parks is the lead agency on the project, which could get underway as early as June 1.
Seven speakers addressed the council, and pushed for city officials to find a way to stop the project.
Marcia Hanscom and Roy van de Hoek of the Wetlands Defense Fund – one of three environmental groups involved in a lawsuit seeking the revocation of the project’s permit -- asked the council to explore if the city has any jurisdiction to deny State Parks access to the parking lot at the Malibu Lagoon through a temporary or conditional use permit.
Thorsen asked the city attorney to investigate if the state is exempt from needing a permit, or if the city can step in on the issue.
Hanscom and van de Hoek also asked if the city can look into sending a letter requesting that the permit originally issued by the Coastal Commission for the project be revoked.
Thorsen directed the city attorney to investigate that possibility as well.
“If we could get everybody looking at it and report back, that would be great,” Thorsen said.
Mayor Laura Zahn Rosenthal praised the idea.
"Even if we say no and they get an exception, maybe it would just put a little chink in their armor," Rosenthal said.
Others also pushed the city for action.
“The city has just failed miserably on this. I don’t think you have really looked out for us,” Andy Lyon said.
Fritz Gerhardt of the Surfer's Coalition held up a surfboard signed by opponents of the project.
"Slow down. Stop. Let’s think. Let’s back up. I don’t think God made a mistake with what has been going on the past 30 years … I think it actually has healed it. It’s being healed," Gerhardt said.