MALIBU—On Monday, January 9, the Malibu City Council voted unanimously to allow Trancas Canyon Park to remain open past its closing time until sunset.

Originally, the park was open until 7 p.m. or until dusk, whichever occurred earlier. But residents complained that they wanted to stay later during the middle of March and through September to take advantage of the extra hours of summer daylight. The new sunset closing time will be in accordance with that of most other parks.

Steve Rucker, president of the Malibu West Swim Club Homeowners Association, said in a letter to the city that the issue of extending these hours should be revisited after the coming summer after the community has fully experienced the change.

In his staff report, Parks and Recreation Director Bob Stallings indicates that visitors to the park who take advantage of the later closing time will be safer than they have been in the past. From 2009-11, there was a decline in the number of burglaries, robberies and thefts at the park, not to mention in traffic accidents and collisions.

Stalling’s report was required per the council approving in 2009 a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the construction of Trancas Canyon Park. According to the report, the aim of which was to assess the park’s impact on the immediate community after 12 months of operation, nearby residents appreciate its playground, open space, picnic areas in a location ideal for parents to keep tabs on their children, and its overall cleanliness.

Though one complaint pertained to visitors letting their dogs run around without leashes outside of the dog park, which is against park policy. This resulted in dogs disrupting use of the multi-purpose sports field and the children’s playground. In other instances, off-leash dogs were reported attacking other dogs and frightening adults and children.

In response, staff put up large signs and educated dog owners about the park’s leash policy, as well as had the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control do regular patrols and cite violators. Though this significantly reduced the problem, it persists to this day.