City Looks to Residents for Input on Ordinance to Limit Chain Stores

The city is seeking community input on a draft ordinance that would require a conditional use permit for any new chain businesses in shopping centers with more than 10,000 square feet in the Civic Center area of Malibu.

A community meeting is set for Thursday to help flush out the details of a draft ordinance that would give Malibu residents more of a voice in what chain stores can open up shop in the Civic Center area.

"I am hoping to get legally defensible, realistic and sensible criteria that will help the Civic Center once again become an interesting, iconic and wonderful place to shop," Malibu City Councilwoman Laura Zahn Rosenthal said.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at Malibu City Hall.

In November, the Malibu City Council voted to direct city staff to draft an ordinance to require a conditional use permit for any new chain businesses in shopping centers with more than 10,000 square feet in the Civic Center area.

At the upcoming meeting, attendees will be encouraged to give input on the criteria that will be used in the draft formula retail ordinance, and to help define the meaning of a "community-serving business," according to Joseph Smith, Malibu's associate planner. They will be given a keypad polling device, which will allow attendees to vote on the ideas.

According to Smith, a limited number of keypad polling devices will be given out to attendees.

Some Malibu residents have expressed concern that the keypad devices will be given to people who oppose the ordinance in unequal numbers, leading to skewed results.

Earlier this month, the board for the Malibu Chamber of Commerce sent out a letter urging its members to attend the meeting and voice concerns about the proposed ordinance.

Following the meeting, the draft ordinance will be prepared by city staff and scheduled for public review at an upcoming Planning Commission meeting followed by a presentation to the Malibu City Council, Smith said.

In addition, a definition of "community-serving business" will be also prepared and scheduled for an upcoming City Council meeting in order to continue the discussion on commercial diversification, he said.

The draft ordinance exempts grocery stores, real estate, gas stations, banks and insurance offices. If approved, the ordinance would have to ultimately go before the California Coastal Commission because changes would need to be made to the city's Local Coastal Program.

The ordinance is part of an effort to address residents' concerns, including maintaining Malibu's character in existing and planned development in the Civic Center.

Cindy Vandor December 05, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Must include Trancas, Pt. Dume, all Malibu. City giving gift to Zan Marquis, Paige and Bo Dubbert, and Donald Sterling by not including the properties they own. Corruption???
Hans Laetz December 05, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Keypad polling devices? Do they administer electronic jolts like at Dr. Marvin Monroe's family clinic? Can't wait.
Ben Dover December 05, 2012 at 08:28 PM
City Council members who fail to immediately draft an ordinance should either be recalled, or they should resign their post. Carmel and Coronado both have ordinances that have been challenged, and have held up in court. We do not need our council members to reinvent the wheel. We need you to do what you were elected to do and serve the residents of Malibu. Park your personal beliefs, and stop catering to the minority. Both of those cities mentioned as well as many others have their Ordinances posted online, print any of them, vote them in at the next meeting, then modify changes in the future if needed.
Marianne Riggins December 06, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Pt. Dume and Trancas are both zoned Community Commercial (CC) here is the description in the MMC - The CC district is intended to provide for the resident serving needs of the community similar to the CN district, but on parcels of land more suitable for concentrated commercial activity. How would additional regulation improve those centers?
Terry December 06, 2012 at 04:35 PM
i support private property rights and am against this type of regulation on private property. we can vote with how we do and dont shop. owners should be able to rent to whom they want and business should not be discriminated against because of the number of stores they have. many of the business in the civic center will go down because of lack of customers. this is the natural selection of things. but it should be the customer and the property owners choice. not the governments on who can establish a business here. to do this to the civic center and not point dume and trancas only will only force non local serving buisness into these areas where we need local services the most. better to leave the places we dont shop in the civic center. they wont be there for long if they dont have customers. look how many empty spaces there are in the ralphs shopping center already.
Malibu December 13, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I can't wait until the inevitable day a giant Walmart is built on the beach in Malibu. That will be a true to life representation of Amurica and its temporarily embarrassed millionaires. The NIMBY's will certainly cry. The .01% will snicker at the game being won.
Cece Stein December 13, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Terry, the frustrating aspect of voting with your pocket book is that these large corporation/brands are being subsidized and use Malibu as a loss leader to promote their brand's existence in one of, if not THE most affluent beach community in the world. A monumental tax write off for these large corporations allows them to be oblivious to our lack of support in the community. Having been in the fashion industry for over 20 years and well versed in the inner workings of their global branding strategy, Malibu is at the top of the list increasing their exposure to celebrities - which equals money to them. Bottom line.
Rick Metzler December 13, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I am so very frustrated that I will not be able to be present tonight. THE PIT - MALIBU MARTIAL ARTS is run by my Wife, Son and myself. My Wife has been a local pre-school teacher for almost 15 years here in Malibu and I have coached soccer, taught swimming, surging and karate here in Malibu for over 20 years. In the summer we fight the tourist traffic that most of these big corporations are here to feed on and although we live here in the same city where our business is, during the summer it can still take us 90 minutes to get to our business…but we endure the traffic and the lower profit margins because we’re invested with more than our pocket books and those relationships mean the world to us. Unfortunately though, it’s difficult for this to translate into making a living when we can not match the resources of these deep pockets we’re up against. We participate in local events, support and sponsor classrooms in multiple elementary schools here in Malibu, THE PIT MALIBU provides scholarships to those unable to pay for their training and we love supporting our students and the community we live in. In fact, attending the Middle-school Holiday Concert tonight is why I will be missing this meeting.
R Y A N December 13, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Rick represents MANY local business owners in his frustration of competing with a Giant who comes to the ring just to be seen. When retail is more about advertising, image, and branding than it is about local sales, that type of continued loss-leader dumping on Malibu's small marketplace displaces legitimate, locally-serving businesses and artificially shifts market rents (to landlords' enjoyment) through the roof. Then we residents have to pay more, or stop buying locally and instead purchasing over-the-hill, wasting time, fuel, and depriving the City of sales tax income it otherwise would receive. Local Sales Tax pays for parks, public safety, the beach team, road improvements, emergency preparedness programs, and resident services via the General Fund.
Jessica E. Davis December 13, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Apparently, an online survey will be posted on the city's website in January.
J. Flo December 13, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Terry "we can vote with how we do and dont shop." This is misleading and completely inaccurate. You need to do the most basic of homework. Cece is correct. This is not rocket science, anyone which a fair amount of intelligence, and eyesight, who studies what is happening to Malibu (and other cities) can clearly see A. the agenda of a handful of developers to change the very fundamental character of Malibu for financial benefit (in opposition to Malibu's General Plan), B. the lack of definition of "Free Market" in this city, C. the destruction of our independent business base, D. many spaces are left vacant for a reason, to avoid lowering of astronomical rents that would reflect the weak economy and drop in real estate prices, E. the down slope Malibu is quickly heading if sane, fair and intelligent plans are not implemented ASAP. Should have happened years ago. Respectfully, your points are not informed nor accurate.
J. Flo December 13, 2012 at 09:31 PM
In truth, and confirmed at the City, CC doesn't effectively change or regulate the mix of businesses in West Malibu. Doesn't prevent or protect an over-saturation of corporate chains or the drastic loss of small, independent Malibu businesses and resident services. Which is exactly what this ordinance, along with community serving retail, does. Many suggest that this city immediately also implement a Formula Ordinance specifically for PT. Dume and Trancas that strongly protects vital community services and our needed small, Independent businesses.
Malibu December 14, 2012 at 12:12 AM
It's awkward that most of the people supporting and running the small businesses here and angry at the American Apparel billboard disguised as a store are the same ones that loved Romney and donated to a campaign and party that actually funnels money and policies to corporations so they can take this kind of stranglehold on our community. What's worse though? Them using Malibu as their corporate billboard for coolness or the pure devastation they have manufactured in every small town across America? Malibu is not special or unique in the destruction of the American working class and small business. Their corporate graffiti and deep pockets have equal devastation to the rest of the countries situation. It just happens to be in a place where the citizens can afford it and are part of it. Don't cry over self inflicted wounds.
Ben Dover December 14, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Tonights a big scam, I heard there are only about 100 polling machines. I'm sure The Chamber with their douche crew are getting there early to force their greedy agenda on our Town. Don Schmitz needs the outsiders to support and fund the Chamber, since a lot of Locals with small business's dropped out since he's been in control of it. Look at the Board of the Chamber, it's a joke. It's being run by outsiders who's pockets depend on the whoring out of Malibu.
Cece Stein December 14, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Kudos to Rick for keeping his business alive given expendable income has not come back in this current economy making it difficult for some service oriented businesses to survive as well. I experienced retail here in Malibu and unless you are a service oriented business ( i.e.: restaurants, grocery stores, gyms, cleaners, even surf shops who provide rentals etc.... ) you will not make it. The celebrity inflated salaries do not make the majority in this town - in fact just the opposite - most of the locals work damn hard for a living. So I can assure you these landlords are not counting on the locals ( much less not taking them into consideration at all ) when they bring in stores like Lanvin, Missoni, Juicy Couture, Tory Burch etc...the consumers they do count? Wealthy European and Asian tourists. It's a win-win for the landlord and the mega brand - even without the tourist business, all it takes is one A list celebrity being seen in their store to bring on the internet sales. If you are a small business, do yourself a favor get on the internet, save yourself the overhead and the headache. Build your business to consumer relationship with social media ( PR 2.0 ) and make a hell of a lot more money than restricting yourself locally. It's not realistic to think after the economic collapse and very slow recovery that this community can support local retail. Gone are the days of traditional brick and mortar retail. These landlords know this and are taking very clear advantage.
Terry December 14, 2012 at 01:31 AM
our city counsel is such an after thought. with 400 thousand of sq footage added at peperdine. court system closes up shop in malibu and for an officer to testify in court they need to drive to santa monica. and all they can do is spend $38,000 on trash cans. still no recycling here that benefits residents, shark tanks off point dume. they just havent stopped anything. retail ordinance. such a joke. to stop the traffic on the highway peperdine will need more than some hashed over city. but obviously our city counsel is totally out of it. again.
Paul Grisanti December 14, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Why are you always harping about the City attorney?


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