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Posted on: December 13, 2022

City submits letter of opposition on MRCA's proposed camping site plans in Malibu

Graphic - City of Malibu submits letter of opposition to MRCA plan for campsites in Malibu

city of malibu continues its strong opposition to MRCA'S PROPOSED PLANS FOR CAMPING SITES IN MALIBU, submitting letter of opposition

The City of Malibu continued its strong opposition to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority’s (MRCA) proposed plans for campsites and facilities at Malibu Bluffs and Ramirez Canyon Park, sending a letter of opposition to the MRCA listing its concerns with the projects and the MRCA’s approach. 

See the City’s letter of opposition to MRCA. 

The MRCA’s proposed plans ignore the very real threat that wildfire poses to lives and homes in Malibu, as well as well as to visitors, hikers and campers. All of Malibu is in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, and the community is still rebuilding and recovering from the devastating 2018 Woolsey Fire that burned 96,949 acres and destroyed 1,600 homes, including 480 in Malibu.

The MRCA’s Malibu Lower-Cost Accommodations Public Works Plan (PWP) includes buildings and operating numerous campsite and park facility projects, trails, roads, campgrounds, yurts, buildings, and amphitheater and public outreach programs at the Malibu Bluffs Open Space; and operation of and upgrades to the existing campground at Ramirez Canyon Park. 

The City’s letter, sent on December 12, 2022, cites numerous concerns about wildfire safety, disaster response and evacuation, environmental impacts, impacts to the Malibu’s quality of life and resources, as well as issues with the MRCA plan’s lack of details, noticing and engagement with the City and the public.

Malibu Bluffs site project details: 
Flame-less facilities (yurts, tent cabins, and tent pad sites); day use facilities (parking, restrooms, landscaping, picnic areas, amphitheater, paths, management and interpretive signage, and coastal overlook areas); trail improvements and signage on Beach to Bluffs Trail; support facilities (ranger residence, medical building, office, and kitchen); fuel modification and vegetation management to reduce wildfire hazards; pedestrian and vehicle bridges to provide access over site drainage and streams; water storage tanks; and fire protection systems (fire hydrants and fire extinguishers). 

Ramirez Canyon Park site project details: 
Flame-less facilities (tent pad sites); day use facilities (parking, restrooms, landscaping, picnic areas, paths, management and interpretive signage); fuel modification and vegetation management to reduce wildfire hazards; and fire protection systems (fire hydrants and fire extinguishers). The Project would require utility trenching and grading to install utility lines and improve existing trails. 

See more details including maps, background, and potential environmental impacts in the Notice of Preparation and on the project website

Details from the City’s letter of opposition:
The City’s letter to the MRCA outlines its opposition and concerns, including lack of details on plans for fire safety and prevention in the campsites, and response and evacuation in case of wildfires or other disasters; infrastructure such as yurts, tent cabins, tent pad sites, and the amphitheater at the Malibu Bluffs site; potential geological impacts of road building and grading; plans for wastewater treatment; parking; the impact to City resources; and modifications and traffic impacts to adjacent roads. 

The City also objected to MRCA’s use of Section 30605 of the Coastal Act to process a Public Works Plan (PWP) for its proposal projects, all of which are located within the City. The PWP process was not designed for such projects and appears to be used here to avoid input from the City and its residents. That undermines public involvement and the purpose and design of the City’s LCP and the Coastal Act. The MRCA’s approach is in direct conflict with the mission statement of the California Coastal Commission, which advocates strong public participation and effective intergovernmental coordination. 

The City requests that MRCA withdraw the PWP and apply through the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) process of the City’s Local Coastal Program (LCP) to ensure robust public engagement and provide the public with more detailed information and analysis on each project and its potential impacts.

See the City’s letter for more details.


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