MALIBU—The Malibu City Council has proposed new development deadlines to speed up the process for construction projects.

On Monday, October 23, the Malibu City Council discussed a new proposal to put limits on the length of time to complete any one construction project. The proposal sets a three-year maximum on construction projects. The proposal will limit extensions to two years, preventing any project from adding extensions yearly.

The Council Agenda Report prepared by Stephanie Hawner states “The ordinance that was proposed originally represents a significant change in the way the City addresses extensions because it establishes a specific limit on the number of and criteria for granting extensions. While this option could provide certainty to the City, community and applicants, it would also tie the City’s hands in situations in which it might wish to exercise greater discretion in granting extensions.”

Previously, there was a three-year limit on construction projects, and there were no regulations on extensions, other than that each extension was to last only one year. This led to many development programs recycling extensions, applying each year and never starting the project. Some applied for 8 or 9 extensions. The new proposal would only allow two, one-year extensions. Projects would have to start within 2 years of being proposed.

Under the proposal, projects could only receive extensions if the applicant of the project experienced “extraordinary circumstances beyond the applicant’s control that have prevented the applicant from commencing the development, such as financial hardship due to extreme economic conditions or job loss, inability to obtain a construction loan, personal reason, such as illness, divorce or death, restricted access to the property because of an existing lease or a necessary agency approval has not been obtained despite diligent efforts. Change of project ownership or architect and elective project redesigns do not by themselves constitute due cause.”

An extension could also be requested if the applicant “exercised due diligence in its efforts to commence the project, such as contracting for and completing necessary studies, reports, drawings and plans to pursue and complete the plan check process.”

The goal of the proposal is to put an end to unnecessarily long construction projects, for those either no longer needed or not within the bounds of updated development guidelines. The proposal was passed by the council with a 5-0 vote.