A judge on Thursday lifted a legal roadblock to allow Malibu to be incorporated without delay if voters give their approval next week.
"Once an opportunity for self-government is gone, it cannot be replaced," Superior Court Judge John Zebrowski wrote in his decision.
Zebrowski on May 9 ruled that the county Board of Supervisors was wrong in believing it had the authority to impose a nine-month delay on cityhood. The county's interpretation of the law was "complicated" and "convoluted," he said at the time. The county appealed the decision and an automatic stay of Zebrowski's ruling was imposed. On Thursday, Zebrowski ordered the stay removed.
Elwood Lui, a lawyer for the county, said he would petition the 2nd District Court of Appeal early next week to reimpose the stay, which could prevent a city government from forming for the better part of a year after the election.