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City Looks to Residents for Input on Ordinance to Limit Chain Stores

The city is seeking community input on a draft ordinance that would require a conditional use permit for any new chain businesses in shopping centers with more than 10,000 square feet in the Civic Center area of Malibu.

City Looks to Residents for Input on Ordinance to Limit Chain Stores

A community meeting is set for Thursday to help flush out the details of a draft ordinance that would give Malibu residents more of a voice in what chain stores can open up shop in the Civic Center area.

"I am hoping to get legally defensible, realistic and sensible criteria that will help the Civic Center once again become an interesting, iconic and wonderful place to shop," Malibu City Councilwoman Laura Zahn Rosenthal said.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at Malibu City Hall.

In November, the Malibu City Council voted to direct city staff to draft an ordinance to require a conditional use permit for any new chain businesses in shopping centers with more than 10,000 square feet in the Civic Center area.

At the upcoming meeting, attendees will be encouraged to give input on the criteria that will be used in the draft formula retail ordinance, and to help define the meaning of a "community-serving business," according to Joseph Smith, Malibu's associate planner. They will be given a keypad polling device, which will allow attendees to vote on the ideas.

According to Smith, a limited number of keypad polling devices will be given out to attendees.

Some Malibu residents have expressed concern that the keypad devices will be given to people who oppose the ordinance in unequal numbers, leading to skewed results.

Earlier this month, the board for the Malibu Chamber of Commerce sent out a letter urging its members to attend the meeting and voice concerns about the proposed ordinance.

Following the meeting, the draft ordinance will be prepared by city staff and scheduled for public review at an upcoming Planning Commission meeting followed by a presentation to the Malibu City Council, Smith said.

In addition, a definition of "community-serving business" will be also prepared and scheduled for an upcoming City Council meeting in order to continue the discussion on commercial diversification, he said.

The draft ordinance exempts grocery stores, real estate, gas stations, banks and insurance offices. If approved, the ordinance would have to ultimately go before the California Coastal Commission because changes would need to be made to the city's Local Coastal Program.

The ordinance is part of an effort to address residents' concerns, including maintaining Malibu's character in existing and planned development in the Civic Center.

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