Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Canyon Defenders Fight Plan for Malibu Park

MALIBU (CN) - A nonprofit group challenged the California Coastal Commission's approval of a public works plan to develop Ramirez Canyon Park, a 22.5-acre estate donated to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy by its former owner, Barbra Streisand.

The Ramirez Canyon Preservation Fund claims the Conservancy's development plan unfairly overrides the Malibu Local Coastal Program, which already regulates the property, and that the new plan will include "hypothetical trail systems that traverse private property which the Conservancy has no legal right to develop."

The plan would open the park to public camping, create 12 day-use picnic areas, and 17.5 miles of new recreational trails.

The Ramirez Canyon Preservation Fund sued the Conservancy in September, claiming that the public works plan violates the Coastal Act and the California Environmental Quality Act. That case is still pending.

In its new complaint in Superior Court, the Ramirez Canyon fund says, "Despite the pending legal challenges, upon submission of the PWP [Public Works Plan] to the Commission by the Conservancy, the Commission immediately processed the Conservancy's application. The Commission staff determined that the PWP submittal was complete on or about September 2, 2010 and notified the City of the submittal on or about September 13, 2010."

Coastal Commission staff "issued a report (dated September 29, 2010) recommending approval of the PWP, with modifications," which included the widening of a bridge to support a 75,000-lb. fire truck, according to the complaint.

The Ramirez Canyon fund also objects to the building of parking lots, restrooms, and facilities for large events of 200-250 people, and provisions for "amplified music up until 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights."

The petition adds, "Numerous PWP components were vague and speculative and lacked the specificity required ... including, but not limited to, the extent of unpermitted development on the property, the nature of the 'events' proposed for the property, and the type of vans, buses and shuttles proposed to transport attendees to the property."

Finally, the fund says the Coastal Commission approved the plan without public input. It demands a temporary restraining order and injunction ordering the Coastal Commission and the Conservancy to stop the development project until it complies with the California Environmental Quality Act and the Coastal Act. It is represented by Timothy Irons with Brownstein Hyatt of Los Angeles.


Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.