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Malibu Fails to Meet Rules on Housing, Study Finds

Malibu, still struggling with its new identity as a city, continues to fail to meet state requirements for low-income and affordable housing, according to the latest review of its General Plan by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

While Malibu officials revised certain provisions to bring them into compliance with state law after an earlier review, other requirements “have not been adequately addressed,” the most recent findings said.

One is failing to include sites for the development of emergency shelters and transitional housing for the city’s homeless population. Malibu’s assumption that the number of homeless warrants “no particular need for special programs” is inconsistent with the law, the report said.

Malibu’s plans still fail “to provide adequate sites to accommodate the city’s lower- and moderate-income housing needs and remove governmental constraints to the development of affordable housing,” the report says.

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The city, however, argues that zoning for a mixture of commercial and residential development would fulfill both the state’s affordable housing requirement and the city’s desire for low-density growth. Units could be situated over shops rather than building a high-density apartment complex, for example.

“We read the law differently than [state housing officials] do,” said Joyce Parker-Bozylinski, Malibu’s planning director. “They see it one way, through high-density housing, and we think there are other, more creative ways.”

What Malibu wants for the future is a rural community of predominantly single-family homes, she said. With basically only one road through the city and physical and geological constraints on the infrastructure, growth must be limited, local officials said.

“Basically, we think our numbers can meet the need and they are saying, ‘No,’ ” Parker-Bozylinski said. “But high density is out for us. That is one area where we would not be willing to compromise.”

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