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Council to Consider Massive Land Swap

The council will consider whether it should swap its ownership of Charmlee Wilderness Park for all 93 acres of Bluffs Park, where the city hopes to place a permanent skate park.

The Malibu City Council will consider later this month a proposed land swap aimed to help settle a lawsuit between the city and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy over uses in Ramirez Canyon.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14 at Malibu City Hall.

At the meeting, the council will provide direction on whether to swap the city’s ownership of Charmlee Park to the SMMC in exchange for city control of all 93 acres of Bluffs Park. The final documents will then be brought back to the city council for a vote at the next meeting.

According to a city staff report dated Dec. 26, Mayor Lou La Monte and Mayor pro Tem Joan House approached SMMC executive director Joe Edmiston “to see whether SMMC and MRCA had any interest in a swap - Charmlee for the rest of Bluffs.”

Edmiston expressed interest in the swap, but also said he wanted “to resolve the Ramirez Canyon Park lawsuit.” 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.

In 2006, the City acquired 10 of the 93 acres of Bluffs Park from the state, but the transfer included a deed restriction that limited the area to park uses, according to a city staff report.

The restrictions include any changes to the parking lot, which is shared by the city and the SMMC.

“The lack of local control recently frustrated the city's consideration of a plan that would re-configure and increase parking at Bluffs Park; the SMMC rejected the proposal to make any changes to the parking lot,” the staff report states.

Malibu has owned Charmlee Wilderness Park since 1998, which consists of more than 532 acres within the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Slope Environment. Of those 532 acres, about 410 acres are within the city of Malibu boundaries.

The park includes picnic areas and over eight miles of hiking trails, native plant displays, and a nature center, according to the staff report.

Any transfer of ownership would include existing use restrictions, the report states.

The proposed land swap could take some time because it will require action by the state of California. In the meanwhile, the proposal calls for $1-per-year leases.

As part of the swap, the SMMC has agreed to “the exact same restrictions that have been in place since 2007,” including not renting out Ramirez Canyon for private events and parties, the staff report states.

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

Paul Grisanti January 04, 2013 at 09:21 PM
I love the idea but will attend the meeting on the 14th to hear it explained.
Cece Stein January 04, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Joe is a bull dog for saving open space from over-development for the sake of keeping wildlife habitats intact. (NEWS FLASH: We watched in awe today for an hour ,a rare White Sea Eagle checking out the menu down at the newly restored lagoon.) If Joe had NOT been as aggressive as he has been, wildlife in the Santa Monica Mountains would not be faring as well as it is today.It seems to be a better fit for The Santa Monica Conservancy to own and manage the wildlife habitats at Charmalee while The City of Malibu can own and manage the many options it will have at Bluffs Park .
V.P.A. January 07, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Unbelievable that trading Charmlee for anything would even be a remote consideration. More particular for a "substandard skate park" as John Mazza puts it. Bluffs Park is a manifestation of Urbanism anyway. Skate Parks belong in noisy urbanised places not in rural Sanctuaries. Surely there's a better solution for a skate park somewhere in the back of beyond around the Civic Centre in a highly commercialised zone . Is a Skate Park an essential ? Charmlee certainly is, it can never be reproduced or replaced ever. It's a major jewel in the crown of Malibu. Something will come along for a Skate Park, after all, those CAN be manufactured & reproduced almost instantly!!!! Maybe Pepperdine would see fit to construct one. They have constructed most other sports facilities!! No to the trade off.
Brian Eamer January 13, 2013 at 07:38 AM
Town hall meeting required! CEQA issues EIR needed Lou Lamonte owes Malibu a justification for his pushing SWAP Slow the process down. Lawsuit will materialize over the lack of public imput
John Mazza February 10, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Deja vu all over again.....Y Berra. The last attempt to trade away Charmlee. http://www.malibutimes.com/news/article_32415b3f-c2af-5bf5-9f03-e81dc9231c5e.html#.URcEICRfKAM.email

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