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State Supreme Court Upholds Malibu's Control of Land Use Policies

"Hopefully ... the city will be able to assume its role in the development of policies and work with the Conservancy to achieve our shared goals of public access, a world-class trail system and wonderful parks," City Attorney Christi Hogin said.

The California Supreme Court Wednesday let stand a court of appeal's decision to affirm a trial court's ruling to reject the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy's plan for overnight camping sites in Malibu.

The SMMC's plan had been supported by the Coastal Commission, which tried to implement sweeping changes in 2009 to Malibu's land use regulations in its Local Coastal Program.

Malibu Mayor Lou La Monte said the city is pleased the court enforced limits on the Coastal Commission's authority.

"Malibu was grateful for the support of the League of California Cities in explaining to the Supreme Court why it was so important to let this case become precedent for all coastal cities. We are pleased that the Court has held the Coastal Commission to limits of its authority," La Monte said. "This case was always about local control and Malibu will never stop defending its right to local control."

Concerned about potential fires, the Malibu City Council in 2007 rejected the plan by the SMMC and its sister organization the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority for overnight camping and other features in the Malibu Parks Public Access Enhancement Public Works Plan. The council also approved some features, including trails, and it passed a measure to ban overnight camping in the city (something the Coastal Commission rejected).

In response, the SMMC took its plan to the Coastal Commission through a rarely used method called a Local Coastal Program Amendment Override. Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas determined this method could be used.

The city and the Ramirez Canyon Preservation Fund claimed this was not the kind of situation for the override procedure.

In the ruling, a three-judge Court of Appeal panel agreed and found that the Coastal Commission overstepped its bounds by using the override amendment to approve the plan.

"Hopefully, in the wake of the Court's ruling, the city will be able to assume its role in the development of policies and work with the Conservancy to achieve our shared goals of public access, a world-class trail system and wonderful parks," City Attorney Christi Hogin said.

Jonathan Friedman August 30, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Hans may be correct, but it cannot be overstated how significant it is that the city won this battle, even if it is only round one. It is very rare for Joe Edmiston to lose. Even people who were hoping for this outcome did not expect this outcome.
Susan Tellem August 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM
JF reminded me that as Joe Edmiston's favorite nemesis to not post is a dereliction of duty on my part. This man wants so badly to bring Malibu to its knees. I've been horrified during Coastal meetings when he buses people in with the promise of free lunch (they barely speak English) to say how cruel we are keeping them out of our city. I hope this decision brought him to his knees.
M Stanley August 31, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Ah Susan, you are forgetting how much experience Edmiston has in crawling? It only takes a cool million dollar check for him to crawl fast and ask where the bowl of crow is! Bringing him to his knees isn't enough, have to make sure he has no more pockets to stash checks from Edgy Rockers in exchange for promoting the very project that Edmiston had been voraciously fighting with his entire arsenal.
Jackie Robbins August 31, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Wow, this is a great coup for the citizens of Malibu! I've been horrified for the same reasons Susan was at the low-handedness that can be perpetrated by these officials of the State...they actually believe the people of Malibu are over-privileged and selfish. I was told this, at that now infamous Coastal Commission meeting, by one of Mr. Edmiston's attorneys when I explained the dangers of over-nite camping in Malibu, and how 54 homes had just been lost in the Corral Canyon Fire because of a fire started in a State Park! Hello......., anybody there? ....you can probably imagine how I seethed inside to hear this from this State representative after losing my home to that fire. I worked very hard to try to stop the overnite camping in Malibu, I feel vindicated tonight with this news. We, the people of Malibu, host over a million visitors to our community yearly, do we also have to put our lives, families and property in danger too? I don't think so! YES MALIBU, preserve your rights!!!!
John Mazza August 31, 2012 at 05:41 PM
A great win for Malibu. Remember the deal with Joe Edmondson our prior council made to allow camping ? Remember how the citizens rose up when we had a fire the very next week and stopped the council from doing their deal ? We should fight for our rights more often. How about fighting the sewers ? We could win that one also.

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