Commissioner Michael Wesner votes FOR the conditional use permit for Irena Hauser and Isis Preservation.
March 20, 2014 hearing at Ventura County Planning Commission. Conditional use permit application PL13-0011. 11077 Pacific View, Malibu, California.
Commissioner Michael Wesner stated "I concur with a lot of the information from my three colleagues and I wrestled with this one just like we did with Lockwood. So you understand the sieves that I use to go through the process. Property owner acquires the property. That property is subject to zoning and terms and conditions it has at time they acquired it. Part of that is they are in open space and they are permitted to have wild animals. Therefore then our standards stop. So first sieve they met. Second sieve. They apply for a conditional use permit which is their right under our codes. And that conditional use permit, staff does analysis. Does it meet certain criteria, elements, which they have laid out in the staff report. Then we receive testimony both for and against, day and a half now, almost 1000 pages, several hours. Yes, we're not the experts in biology, in a lot of things but that's the reason we exist. We have experts. We have public testimony. We are the ones that make the decision. What we are relying on is to be this average citizen. Yes, we bring our own expertise, background, whether it be waste management or security. But sadly the buck stops here, and that is what we get paid to do. So it's not an easy decision. I agree with the other commissioner. I wouldn't want it next to me. But at the same time I'm not out in open space. Lockwood set the precedent. Here are standards. We apply standards. Property owner has right to expect standards. And when it comes to a conditional use permit is it reasonable to expect standards can be met? Best management practices, qualifications of state, federal requirements for these particular animals, track record, history of the applicants, has documents, and we put this in a sieve. It comes down to do we want a pack of wolves or 2-5 tigers. So the question gets to the point, is there truly a question of public safety that staff has represented? In the capacity question is there enough evidence, information to sway my decision one way or another? And I go back to not only what the applicant's attorney represented but what my fellow commissioners have said. We have evaluated wild animals being contained and applied standards and best practices. So I'm really 51%, 49% here but if I'm going to go with the situation through the sieves I've gone through I would have to approve the conditional use permit based on the current standards of the situation that exist before this body today."