Santa Monica Mountains - Cease and Desist Orders

From ActCoastal

Month September
Year 2018
Summary In 2004, the Coastal Commission staff discovered unpermitted development in the Santa Monica Mountains which was the subject of the consent cease and desist and restoration orders. The property where this occurred is part of a unique ecosystem that comprises the largest and most pristine example of Mediterranean habitat remaining in coastal Southern California, and is adjacent to over 2,700 acres of wilderness, including public parkland, and Dark Canyon Creek, a U.S.G.S. designated “blue line stream” that is part of the Malibu Creek watershed.

The unpermitted development has likely impacted species – including mountain lions, mule deer, foxes, bobcats, badgers, lizards, snakes, and many species of raptors and owls – that rely on this habitat by further fragmentation habitat linkages.

The unpermitted development in the Santa Monica Mountains in question consisted of:

  • Construction of a sand-filled horseback riding ring and horse-related structures
  • Horseback riding trails, a tack shed, tractor overhang, hay shed, and fences;
  • Removal of major vegetation;
  • The destruction of 2.25 acres of an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area.

The property owners have worked with Coastal Commission staff to resolve the violations. Under this proposed agreement, they have agreed to:

  • Remove items of Unpermitted Development and restore areas impacted by these activities;
  • Address temporal losses of habitat and to address civil liabilities associated with the Unpermitted Development;
  • Remove approximately 62 large, fire-prone, invasive pepper trees plus 13 other invasive trees and replace them with approximately 75 new, native trees, such as oaks;
  • Restore additional areas on the properties;
  • Transfer nearly all of two undeveloped parcels, representing roughly 22 acres of land, and worth approximately $1 million, to MRCA, a significant benefit to coastal resources, the public, and MRCA.

The Coastal Commission unanimously approved the orders.

Outcome Green Dot.png
Outcome Description Commissioner Mark Vargas motioned to approve the cease and desist and restoration orders. The motion passed unanimously.
Why You Should Care The unpermitted development has the potential to impact the Malibu Creek watershed, as well as the numerous species that inhabit the creeks and waterways, including the threatened species. As noted in the staff report, this property and “surrounding wildlands offer large, nearly pristine, un-fragmented areas of native habitat that support a wealth of native animals, including...mountain lions, bobcats, gray foxes, coyotes... the [threatened] Pacific Pond Turtle,... raptors, and owls.”
Image Smm.jpg
Decision Type Cease and Desist and Restoration Orders
Staff Recommendation Issuance of Cease and Desist and Restoration Orders
Staff Report
Opposition to Project
Coastal Act Policies Chapter 3

Voting Detail for Santa Monica Mountains - Cease and Desist Orders

Individual vote detail for Issue: Santa Monica Mountains - Cease and Desist Orders
Roberto UrangaGood Vote
Donne BrownseyGood Vote
Sara AminzadehGood Vote
Erik HowellGood Vote
Steve PadillaGood Vote
Mark VargasGood Vote
Mary LuevanoGood Vote by Alternate
Dayna BochcoGood Vote
Aaron PeskinGood Vote
Ryan SundbergGood Vote
Carole GroomGood Vote

Meeting Page

View Meeting Page for the meeting where this issue was discussed/voted on.