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Primary View Determination
A Primary View Determination is a process where a Planning staff member takes photographs at the property of the property’s primary view corridor. The photographs are then formalized in a Primary View Determination document.

The following is an overview of the Primary View Determination procedure, as established in Malibu Municipal Code (MMC) Section 17.45.050:

To have a view preserved, the property owner must first:
  • Complete and submit a Uniform Application to the City's Planning Department
  • Pay the application fee of $302

Upon receipt of a complete application and fee, a City Planner will contact the property owner to schedule a time to visit the property. After the visit, staff will draft a document, which will include an aerial photo of the location of the primary view, and photos taken from that location, which document the primary view corridor. Once a primary view corridor has been established, it cannot be changed and is binding on future owners. Staff will maintain the Primary View Determination on file with the City as a public record for future use.

If foliage and trees are trimmed after the City completes a Primary View Determination, and the owner wishes to have the view re-documented, a new Uniform Application and application fee must be submitted for the new Primary View Determination. An application and fee are required each time the City is asked to document a view for preservation purposes.

Important terms:
  • “Primary view corridor” means a 180 degree view assessed by the Planning Director or designee from a single fixed location and direction within the main viewing area, at an elevation of five feet as measured from the room floor or on an abutting outdoor deck or patio at any one point within ten feet of the nearest outside wall of the structure as selected by the affected property owner and the City.
  • “Primary view” means visually impressive scenes of the Pacific Ocean, offshore islands, the Santa Monica Mountains, canyons, valleys, or ravines, within a primary view corridor.
  • “Main viewing area” means the ground floor of a commercial, institutional or principal residential structure unless the ground floor of a commercial structure consists of garages, parking areas and storage and unless the primary living area of a principal residential structure is not located on the ground floor. If the ground floor of a commercial structure consists of garages, parking areas and storage, the “main viewing area” means the first habitable floor. If the primary living area of a principal residence is not located on the ground floor, the main viewing area means the primary living area of the principal residence. The “main viewing area” may be abutting outdoor deck or patio area located at relatively the same elevation as the ground floor of a commercial or institutional structure or a primary living area of a residence, whichever as the superior view corridor. Bedrooms, master bedroom retreats, offices, hallways, closets, laundry rooms, mechanical rooms, bathrooms and garages shall not be considered main viewing areas. Application of a primary view corridor requires an established “main viewing area.”
  • “Primary living area” means the living room, family room, dining room, kitchen or a combination thereof.
  • “Principal residence” and “Principal residential structure” mean the primary residential structure located on a lot. Guest houses, granny flats and second units are not principal residences or principal residential structures.


City of Malibu