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  • Writer's picturePaul Grisanti

New Developments on the District 29 Water District deal with LACO Fire

Water District #29’s Director Mark Pestrella and LA Co. Fire’s Chief Daryl Osby jointly announced the New Fire Flow standards for Fire Rebuilds at the March 25thMalibu City Council meeting. I was surprised and concerned that the new standard was now 1250 Gallons per minute for one hour rather than the 500 Gallons per minute for one hour I had been told to expect 6 or 7 weeks ago. I have since been assured that based on the calculations of District 29 there are no homes that would have been able to build with the 500 GPM standard that cannot build with the 1250 GPM standard.

The Encinal Canyon/La Chusa Highlands area remain problematic due to the 4 inch water mains in the area. I have been able to confirm that a La Chusa Homeowner funded plan to permit a larger 300,000-gallon Water Tank and larger water mains is currently on the desk of a Malibu City Planner. This Planner is apparently the third City staffer to shepherd the project over the last several years. It seems that the project has been passed from desk to desk as staffers leave for greener pastures. We will be devoting our efforts on a speedy resolution of whatever uncertainties remain so that the project can be granted a Hearing and a Planning approval.

District 29’s Director Mark Pestrella privately agreed on March 25thto have Engineers start work on the actual engineered construction drawings immediately. I have heard estimates of up to 8 months for this process. According to the March 2016 Draft EIR the actual construction phase will take about 16 months. That’s 24 months of engineering and construction.

During the meeting on the 25th,Director Pestrella stated the Encinal/La Chusa project could be permitted and built in no more than 4 years. We’ve got to beat this estimate.

I’m sure that the City will be able to supply the hearings and permits in less than 2 years if they are adequately motivated. The 2016 EIR already exists. I’m confident that if the City Attorney feels the Tank and Pipes replacement project needs to go to the Planning Commission first, that Malibu Planning Director Bonnie Blue will schedule the hearing on an ASAP basis, even if it requires a Special Hearing to be scheduled.

I am also confident that the City Council will waste no time signing off on the approvals.

LA Co’s Fire Chief Daryl Osby and Director Mark Pestrella both made remarks during the March 25thmeeting alluding to a future compromise that could allow construction of Fire Rebuilds in the Encinal/La Chusa area to proceed once the approvals for the Tank and Pipes are complete.

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