The City of Malibu plans to hold a meeting next week aimed at gathering ideas and measuring interest on the possibility of retiring vacant, commercially zoned land in Malibu's Civic Center.
The meeting, which will also seek to gauge if Civic Center property owners are willing to sell their vacant land to the city, is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 10 at , according to Olivia Damavandi, Malibu's public information officer.
Mayor Laura Rosenthal and Councilwoman Joan House, which were appointed to the Civic Center Property Owners Negotiation Ad Hoc Committee in May, will put on the meeting.
"The creation of the Civic Center Property Owners Negotiation Ad Hoc Committee illustrates the City's attentiveness to the needs of its residents and visitors," Rosenthal said. "Preserving vacant land zoned for commercial use is one way to ensure that Malibu retains its rural landscape. We look forward to a productive meeting filled with great ideas."
The idea of retiring land is one of many that has popped up over the past several months in the wake of unveiled plans for a Whole Foods at Cross Creek Road and Civic Center Way and other projects.
Others, including Preserve Malibu, have been working to develop an initiative that would allow Malibu residents to vote on any planned development that requires a variance.
Steve Uhring, who is one of many Malibu residents involved in putting together the initiative, said the increase in the number of story poles has alarmed many. Story poles are used to show how a proposed development will impact views.
"The vast majority of people in the city, I believe, when they drive into the Civic Center today, what they primarily see is our new spring flower: the story pole. Everybody would like to see some of that land taken off the commercial development plate," Uhring said.
Uhring said he believes the idea of retiring land is a good one, but that the cost of the land will only go up once a planned sewer in the Civic Center is built.
"There is no effort on the part of the city to show any kind of evidence that we don’t need the sewer," Uhring said.
Don Schmitz, who represents the owners of the approved La Paz project, said he supports the idea of Malibu residents coming together to discuss the future of the Civic Center.
"The conversation should be comprehensive," Schmitz said.
Schmitz added that he would like too see the cost of buying land in Civic Center analyzed in light of other infrastructure needs within Malibu.
"We have $150 to $180 million in deferred water improvements and maintenance that we need to do in this town," Schmitz said.
He said the city will also have to finance the sewage treatment plant and repave roads in the coming years.
"Do the math. That’s a lot of money," Schmitz said.