MALIBU—The Malibu City Council will consider extending the deadline for residents rebuilding property damaged by the Woolsey Fire of 2018. The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 8. 

The current deadline for the initiative is June 30, 2020. The proposition will come as a request from Councilmember Skylar Peak. 

Peak is requesting the extension in order to “aid property owners having difficulty meeting the June 30, 2020 deadline due to circumstances beyond their control, including but not limited to issues between homeowners and insurance carriers or issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the agenda report states.  

According to the report, part of the issued agenda for the upcoming meeting, the fiscal impact of a possible extension is unknown. Approximately $2.1 million of fees have been refunded or waived to date. The total projection of waived fees and refunds since the Woolsey Fire is $4.2 million. 

City staff estimates, according to the report, an additional $1.4 million in waived fees for the current 2019-2020 fiscal year after unclaimed eligible requests have been processed.

To be eligible for a rebuild fee waiver, residents should provide documentation indicating primary residency status in the city of Malibu as of November 8, 2018. Voter registration or a driver’s license, with an address listed as a Malibu address are part of the criteria used to date. 

A proposed change in the criteria was discussed and rejected during a council meeting on Friday, May 29. Members debated whether homeowners renting out properties, or who possess a secondary property in the city, such as a vacation home, should be eligible for a waiver. 

Councilmember Rick Mullen acknowledged the devastation homeowners have gone through because of the Woolsey Fire. He  urged the city council to stick the current criteria to avoid future litigation dispute.

“I think we have good policy,” Mullen said. “If you’re not registered to vote at the time of the Woolsey Fire, your driver’s license doesn’t say you live here… it is kind of tough for us to say ‘we’’ll bend the rules for you’.”