Malibu : Coastal Panel Approves Large Condo Project

The California Coastal Commission has given final approval to the largest condominium conversion project in Malibu, despite the strenuous objections of some commissioners to conditions imposed on the development.

At a meeting Tuesday in Los Angeles, the state agency voted 8 to 2 to allow the Irvine-based J. D. Stout Co. to convert the 124-unit Latigo Bay Villas, at 26612 Latigo Shores Drive, into 114 condominiums.

The commission approved the conversion on the condition that the development firm participate in the transfer-of-development-credit program, which requires major subdividers or developers to purchase the development rights to small mountain lots that the commission wants preserved as open space.

The commission asked that Stout purchase 57 credits, reducing by half the number of credits it had originally required. Representatives of the developer protested the earlier requirement of 114 credits, saying that the estimated $1.3 million cost would have made the project infeasible.

Vice President Barbara J. Johnson said the revised condition was acceptable to company officials. She did not know how much the 57 credits would cost but said that she would negotiate a price with the California Coastal Conservancy, one of two independent agencies that sell large blocks of the mountain lots.

Commissioner Tom McMurray said that the developer of a condo conversion project should not be required to pay any fees. He argued that participation in the development credit program should only apply to new development.

Commissioner W. Steve McElvaine said he opposed the project because it might prejudice the Malibu Local coastal program, now under commission consideration.

The commission may vote on suggested changes to the coastal program at a daylong hearing today beginning at 9 a.m. at the Holiday Inn near Los Angeles International Airport. The plan, if approved by the commission, would return to the county authority to regulate development in Malibu.

The commission's decision to approve the conversion project with a reduction in development credits came after it rejected a proposal to revoke Stout's coastal permit. The possibility of revocation was raised at a meeting in December when the development company presented information about a minor geological problem on adjacent property. A subsequent investigation by the staff found that the problem could be solved and did not warrant revocation of the permit.

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