Malibu Cityhood Election a Step Closer

Times Staff Writer

After two years of delays, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week scheduled a public hearing to set an election date for Malibu cityhood.

Incorporation backers were subdued at the news. Supervisors set the hearing for Oct. 19, the latest date possible, and there remains a possibility that the meeting could be postponed or taken off calendar by some unforeseen event.

"We were here once before, but I'm glad we've got a date," said Carolyn Van Horn, co-chair of the Malibu Committee for Incorporation. "I just hope nothing happens before the 19th."

Hearing Date Canceled

Last year, supervisors set a hearing date and abruptly cancelled it when a developer filed a lawsuit against the Local Agency Formation Commission, the state-mandated agency that approved Malibu's cityhood bid. The suit resulted in a yearlong delay and forced cityhood backers to spend nearly $20,000 for an environmental report to address the impact of the proposed city.

Supervisors had delayed any action on the cityhood proposal while they lobbied LAFCO to include a provision that would allow the county to retain jurisdiction over sewers in the seaside community for up to 10 years after incorporation. After LAFCO rejected the request twice, the panel reversed itself earlier this month and granted the county's wish.

"Now that they have their 10-year jurisdiction, there's really no reason to delay it any longer," Van Horn said.

The county approved a $43-million sewer system for Malibu in January against the wishes of thousands of residents in the community who believe it will lead to widespread development along the rugged coast. The sewer system must be approved by the California Coastal Commission, which will hold hearings on the plan beginning Sept. 13.

Thousands Protested

Angry residents launched the incorporation drive in October, 1987, when the county appeared ready to approve a massive $90-million sewer system for the community of 20,000 residents. When thousands protested the plan at a hearing, supervisors backed away from the proposal and agreed to accept the scaled-down version of the sewer that community leaders insist is still too large.

The earliest election date for Malibu's cityhood bid would be April, 1990.

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