I was at the City Council Meeting on February 11 and was pleased to hear from City Manager Reva Feldman that Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office had confirmed that larger replacement Water tanks for Encinal /La Chusa Highlands, Phillips Road and the strangely named Portshead tank, which is located north of Cavalleri Road, had been moved back onto the priority list.  These tanks will provide LAFD compliant Fire flow for La Chusa Highlands, Malibu Park, Cavalleri, Kanan, and Point Dume

You can watch Reva’s announcement by going to video of the Council meeting for 2-11-2019 and fast forwarding to 1:28 on the tape.  Strangely her announcement did not appear in any of the newspapers last week.

By examining the March 2016 Draft EIR we can learn that each of these Welded Steel tanks will be no more than 24 feet high and accommodate 300,000 gal., 400,000 gal. and 320,000 gallons respectively.  The Phillips and Portshead tanks both fit within existing easements.  The Encinal tank will require acquisition of an addition ¾ of an acre of easements to build the tank.  

The construction schedule for each of these tanks is estimated in the EIR at 16 months.  If these tanks are built sequentially, we are looking at a total construction time of 4 years.  I’m hoping that District 29 will be able to hire enough sub-contractors to build all the tanks simultaneously.  A slightly less desirable option is to stagger the start dates enough to allow the same contractor to sequentially put in all the foundations, followed by an erection/welding crew for each of the tanks.

The first barrier to be faced is hearings to certify an EIR report covering the tanks.  While I don’t anticipate any opposition from the neighborhoods served, we may see some resistance from those who don’t live in Malibu.

The permitting process as it currently exists involves a visit to the Planning Commission where they will struggle to apply our codes, which were written for residential construction, to a crucial part of our Public Safety infrastructure. Once approved by the Planning Commission the plans for the tanks would have to be approved by the City Council.  This process would typically take about 4 months as there is at least a 2-month backlog to get on the agendas of the Planning Commission and the City Council.  

I would like to propose that the City Council direct that the Water Tank plans be submitted directly to the City Council for a savings of at least 2 months in the approval process.

Please join me at the City Council meeting on February 25th to hear how the District 29 Plans are proceeding and to ask for the Council’s help in expediting the process.

I am also asking for people to join me at Pepperdine’s Elkins Auditorium from 10:00 to 3:00 on Saturday February 23 to make sure that Supervisor Kuehl, District 29 and LAFD are all working towards removing this barrier to rebuilding Malibu.