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Fancy, Absurd-Sounding Cemetery Planned For PCH in Malibu

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Developer and over-the-top-home-owner Richard Weintraub once had great dreams of building a 146-room hotel on a prime, 28-acre chunk of land along Pacific Coast Highway near Pepperdine University. Locals objected, as they often do in slow-growth Malibu, so now, says the LA Times, Weintraub's proposing a new development that will generate way less traffic and noise: a 55,000-plot cemetery. It's kind of like a hotel, except that "Guests check in, but they can't check out," as the delightfully morbid mayor of Malibu puts it.

The memorial park would be relatively minimalist, says Weintraub: "We're not planning on having headstones or even ground markers, except for maybe small circles"; instead of reading gravestones, people will use GPS to find their loved ones. Weintraub is planning a 7,500-square-foot chapel and an underground parking garage and has spoken with artists Ed Ruscha and Chuck Arnoldi about ways to incorporate art and architecture into the memorial park. So if you think this is going to be some kind of lowkey, low-net-worth cemetery, you're crazy. The cemetery will be divided up into classes: "lawn crypts," "bench estates," "terrace estates," and "private family estates."

Building a cemetery would require amendments to Malibu's zoning code and the coastal program, which don't mention anything about cemetery uses. "Most people would have never imagined that someone would build a cemetery in Malibu," Malibu's Planning director tells the Malibu Times. So far, the plan, still in its early stages, has failed to elicit the strong opposition that the hotel received, but there's plenty of time for that.
· Developer hopes Malibu cemetery plan won't rile slow-growth activists [LAT]
· Hotel Plan Killed, Cemetery Proposal Comes to Life [MT]
· Big Hotel Plans in the Works Near Pepperdine in Malibu [Curbed LA]