A two-decade long development battle in Malibu came to an abrupt close last week when developer Trancas PCH dropped its lawsuit against the city.

Trancas owns 35 acres of undeveloped land near the Pacific Coast Highway’s intersection with Trancas Canyon Road in mostly rural western Malibu. It had planned to build 52 condos and 15 houses on that site, but the legal battle over that proposal had dragged on for more than 20 years through half a dozen lawsuits.

In 1984, before Malibu was its own city, Trancas obtained tentative approvals for the development from Los Angeles County. When Malibu incorporated in 1991, ‎the city took over land use permitting from the county, including the final approvals needed for the Trancas subdivision. The city, however, never gave Trancas the green light. Malibu’s City Council officially “disapproved” the subdivision in 2003.

Trancas filed suit against the city, challenging that disapproval, and sought to force Malibu to accept the 1984 approval by Los Angeles County. Now that Trancas has dropped the lawsuit, that county subdivision approval is effectively terminated.

“Closing the book on this development proposal is terrific news for the residents of western Malibu, and ending this series of baseless lawsuits takes a great financial burden off the city’s pocketbook,” said Malibu Mayor John Sibert.

Victor De La Cruz, a land use attorney with the Los Angeles firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips, who is listed as the representative of Trancas PCH on the project’s application, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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