Today, its my ever real estate desirable Malibu, where the planning commission and council are under pressure pondering the future of the civic center.
As the heat of the summer builds, and the heat of development bubbles , focus is on two proposed projects: a whole foods market and shops sweetened by a park, and the second, a commercial cluster that actually was approved by the city in 2008, but still must resolve some environmental issues.
Whatever, we can expect these developments will be with us for some time, tied up by appeals and law suits.
Meanwhile, a citizens task force is completing a draft of design guidelines for new commercial development, which most likely will recommend further study, on a broader plan , to weave a more attractive and accessible center, for residents as well as tourists.
But this continuing debate over the civic center can be distracting, for Malibu, after all, is primarily a residential community, which to be sure is also under development pressure, one project at a time. And this being a desired address for the deep pocket crowd, where big is considered better, the projects sadly are often egregious.
I feel they are compromising Malibu as much as the excessive commercial.
Consider the proposal of 29042 Cliffside Dr to be aired before the planning commission Monday. It takes a bad faux Mediterranean style house and attempts to convert it to a bad faux modernist structure.
From my perspective as an architecture critic, the design looks cheap.
I also feel the indicated construction of 49% is a blatant attempt to have the project declared a remodel and not a new structure, with its additional reviews and fees. The result is what I would label a macmansion .
However, my prime objection is based on my experience as the past chair of the city”s View Preservation Task Force, and from years as a planning consultant, to private corporations and public agencies.
I fear that if this application is approved, and however it compromises the blue water view of any neighboring property, it will also clearly affect their property values. That in turn will constitute what is known in planning as a taking; the taking away of value from one party to benefit another. This could be the basis for a costly law suit against the city.
My view is not affected, but if those of my neighbors are, and with the result of lowering their property values, mine also would be affected, and also that of all Malibu. Macmansions are a plague to be avoided. Tune in next week for the results
Im Sam Hall Kaplan, on 97.5 KBU and Radio Malibu, dot com.