June 18, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Make Way For Whole Foods: Malibu’s Measure R Ruled Illegal

Latest Malibu news.
Latest Malibu news.

Malibu’s city attorney said today the City Council will discuss in an upcoming meeting whether to appeal a judge’s ruling that voided a local retail ordinance approved by voters last fall.

Christi Hogin said the council will ponder the issue during a meeting in January. She also said the ruling was not a complete setback.

“Although disappointing for the initiative proponents and Malibu voters, the decision has one very positive aspect that the city may use to salvage the objectives of Measure R,” Hogin said.

“While the court rejected the measure’s particular mechanism for regulating chain businesses, the court accepted the essential premise that chain stores are a different land use category than non-chain stores,” she said. “The city may re-examine the formula retail ordinance that was superseded by Measure R and use the decision as a roadmap to enact future regulations.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant issued his 23-page ruling Tuesday on Measure R, which had enacted a 30 percent limit on the number of chain stores in shopping centers citywide and required that voters approve new commercial centers to be built in Malibu if they are larger than 20,000 square feet.

“The court has sympathy for Measure R’s goals,” Chalfant wrote. “The city’s citizens wanted to preserve the community’s unique small-town and rural character and the … limitation of chain stores seems relevant to this goal.”

Nonetheless, Chalfant wrote, “Measure R is not a legitimate means of doing so.”

Measure R’s restrictions “are a condition based on the nature of the owner, not on use of the property, and they are unlawful,” Chalfant wrote.

The judge’s decision clears the way for a new shopping center anchored by a Whole Foods Market.

The petition challenging Measure R, which was approved by voters in November 2014, was filed in May by two companies, The Park at Cross Creek and the Malibu Bay Co.

In his ruling, Chalfant noted that the companies had invested millions of dollars and spent several years planning, designing, performing engineering and conducting environmental studies in support of projects affected by Measure R.

One of Measure R’s most vocal supporters was actor/director Rob Reiner, who has a home in the coastal city.

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