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Coastal Commission OKs Santa Monica College’s Malibu Campus Plans
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
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Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

June 13, 2016 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) passed one of last major hurdles toward building a campus in Malibu when the California Coastal Commission last Thursday declined to hear an appeal of that city's approval of the project.

There are still some other government agency reviews ahead, and the Malibu activist group that challenged the project could file a lawsuit, but it appears a Malibu campus first proposed 12 years ago is on the horizon.

“This project provides a unique opportunity,” SMC President Kathryn Jeffery told the commission at its meeting in Santa Barbara. “This brings to the community affordable educational services and programs.”

The 25,000-square-foot campus will be located in Malibu’s Civic Center area.

It will include a 20,000-square-foot educational area with five classrooms, a lecture hall, student lounge and office for as many as 210 students and 12 faculty members as well as a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department substation and an interpretive center.

A Malibu campus was proposed as part of an SMC District (which includes Santa Monica and Malibu) bond measure that went before voters and was approved in November 2004.

Various issues have led to a long delay in getting a specific proposal before officials in Malibu.

Malibu officials approved the project earlier this year, granting variances on height and other development restrictions. The activist group Malibu Township Council filed an appeal on the grounds that the campus presented environmental and view issues.

Coastal staff told the commission there was “no substantial issue” putting the project at odds with Coastal Act policies, including environmental protection, and that the appeal should not be heard. All but one commissioner agreed on Thursday.

“This is a very good project and will enhance the community and not impact negatively on the coast,” Commissioner Dayna Bochco said.

The one opponent was Commission Chair Steve Kinsey, who said that although he supports SMC, approval of the project with its variances “has all the appearances of [the commission] being easy on an applicant because we like them.”

He noted the recent well-publicized accusations against the commission that it is too friendly with developers.

“We have been unfairly characterized on this commission as one that perpetuates development by a number of stakeholder interests up and down the coast,” Kinsey said. “This just allows for that misinformation to be perpetuated.”

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