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Former L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon:…

Conservancy Board OKs Settlement, Paves Way for Proposed Land Swap

The proposal calls for the swap of the city of Malibu’s ownership of Charmlee Wilderness Park for all 93 acres of Bluffs Park, which is operated by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy board approved the terms of a settlement with the city of Malibu Monday, paving the way for a proposed land swap aimed to put an end to a lawsuit over uses in Ramirez Canyon.

In a closed session at Temescal Canyon Park in Pacific Palisades, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) board approved the terms of the settlement, which is part of a multi-faceted proposal that includes the swap of the city’s ownership of Charmlee Park to the SMMC in exchange for city control of all 93 acres of Bluffs Park.

During open session, SMMC staff reported that the SMMC agreed to keep administrative offices for 15 people as well as a residential housing for the caretaker and family; two weekly special programs for disabled youth or senior citizens; occasional employee trainings; and routine property maintenance in Ramirez Canyon.

The board also approved the $1-per-year ground lease agreement with the city of Malibu for the proposed land swap.

The deal is not yet finalized. The Malibu City Council will have a chance to review the settlement agreement and the proposed land swap at its Jan. 14 meeting at Malibu City Hall.

In August, an appellate court judge upheld a lower court's rejection of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy's plan for overnight camping sites in Malibu. The judge did not provide direction on uses in Ramirez Canyon.

As part of the settlement, the SMMC will adhere “the exact same restrictions that have been in place since 2007,” including not renting out Ramirez Canyon for private events and parties, according to a city of Malibu agenda report.

Before these restrictions were in place, the SMMC sought to rent the facility for private events and weddings, which were disruptive to the neighborhood.

The city of Malibu has been seeking to place a skate park within the parking lot at Bluff’s Park, which has been blocked by the conservancy.

Separately, the board also agreed to send a request for a coastal development permit to the California Coastal Commission for camping sites in Charmlee Wilderness Park and Ramirez Canyon. Both proposals place the camping spaces outside the city of Malibu limits.

John Mazza January 09, 2013 at 11:07 PM
I do not understand the hurry on this swap. There are many unanswered questions and this is supposed to be a done deal on Jan 28. No parks and rec meetings. No planning commission meetings. No town hall meetings. Basically no input. The city has not even disclosed that the Bluffs Park parcel in question is zoned Public Open Space which is the same zoning that the Coastal Commission used to stop the swap deal on the other side of the park. Most of the parcel is ESHA and the only part of the swap land that can be used is bisected by a ESHA stream which requires 100ft setback. We probably have to sell our soul to the CCC to even get a field let alone a skate board park. At the very least the city council should have a cancellation clause if we are not permitted fair use. By the way, it looks like the state would take years to approve the sale and then at least two more years to get a permit from the CCC. The kids will be out of college before anything happens. Why the rush ? Remember Ken kearswley said we would never get Legacy Park unless we hurried and voted for Measure M and you know how true that was. It could be a good deal or another folly but we should at least know what we are doing.
Lynn Norton January 14, 2013 at 09:23 AM
If the city ever agrees to give Charmlee to SMMC, it absolutely should have a deed restriction on it to disallow campfires – I hope a lot of people will come to the City Council meeting this evening (Monday Jan 14th) and say so. But the City Council should not be rushed into this decision. Presumably Joe Edmiston said he’s only interested in this deal if it happens this month, in January, but I don’t believe it. This is just a ploy to force a quick decision without giving anyone time to evaluate and discuss it. Even if it WAS true (which it isn’t), that Joe’s going to lose interest on February 1st, then if the city’s only choice is to make a big decision like this while bypassing due diligence and citizen involvement for the sake of speed, or otherwise they will lose the opportunity, then it is important to accept letting go of the opportunity in those circumstances. There’s no excuse to rush a decision to trade away assets that belong to the citizens.
Marshall Thompson January 14, 2013 at 03:42 PM
What's the rush? Why is this so urgent we have to get a deal done by the end of January? Isn't this important enough of an issue which impacts all of greater Malibu that we should have careful deliberation? Who does this deal benefit, exactly? Hold your horses, people!
Hans Laetz January 14, 2013 at 04:48 PM
"Careful deliberation" ??? My honorable friends Marshall, John, Cindy and JBB have all already proclaimed their opposition to this plan, and proclaimed it to be dangerous, undesirable, impossible. Of course, the community needs to learn the details of the land trade before making any decision. But the above people have not even done that, before loudly pronouncing it a stinker. All of you make some very good points, and raise important questions. But you have assumed the worst, without waiting to even see the proposal, and pronounced your judgment. Hold your horses, indeed. Let's see what's on the table, what we would gain, and what we would lose.
Wendi Werner January 16, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Hans, I understand that you had a few choice words for Edmondson at the City council meeting. I am all ears.

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