The Real Deal Los Angeles

Malibu mulls easing zoning laws to rebuild homes damaged in Woolsey Fire

Provisions could allow residents to replace destroyed homes without updating them, and to put up trailers during rebuilding
December 04, 2018 10:00AM

Malibu Mayor Rick Mullen and the Woolsey Fire burn scar (Credit: NASA on Flickr)

The Malibu City Council is preparing a package of measures to help locals rebuild in the wake of the devastating Woolsey Fire.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the provisions Tuesday night. The measures include hiring contractors to beef up the planning department and loosening zoning rules to make rebuilding easier for residents, according to Curbed.

The Woolsey Fire destroyed 670 structures, including 400 single-family homes, in the tony beachside enclave. The fire, which lasted about a week, was likely the most destructive blaze in Malibu’s history. It caused $1.6 billion in property damage and the median value of homes destroyed there was about $3.47 million.

Specifics haven’t been hammered out, but the provisions could allow homeowners to rebuild their destroyed homes as they were, and even include features that are not allowed under current zoning laws but were grandfathered in at the time. The city could allow residents to build trailers on their properties while they rebuild.

Malibu Mayor Rick Mullen put an emphasis on expediting projects through the city process quickly.

“It’s definitely our intention that people not have to be subject to the normal delays and bureaucratic hassles that they would they be if they were building a house for the first time,” he told Curbed.

Some things are out of local control though. Residents affected by the Woolsey Fire — which caused around $5 billion in damage to northwest L.A. County and Ventura County — will have to wait for state and federal authorities to complete inspections and hazardous removal before people can start rebuilding. [Curbed] – Dennis Lynch