Share story

A local ordinance backed by actress Barbra Streisand and director Rob Reiner that puts restrictions on new retail stores in Malibu, Calif., is unconstitutional and should be blocked, real-estate developers said in a lawsuit.

Voters in November approved an initiative requiring that commercial developments larger than 20,000 square feet be approved in a city referendum. It was prompted by a development plan to build a 25,000-square-foot Whole Foods market in the beach getaway for billionaires and celebrities. The developers Monday filed a federal complaint seeking a court order that the measure can’t be enforced.

The law, known as Measure R, “fails the most basic requirement of lawful legislation,” David Waite, a lawyer for the developers, said in a statement announcing the suit. “It is arbitrary, discriminatory and lacks a reasonable and rational relationship to a proper legislative purpose.”

Development restrictions have been popular in California beach cities such as Malibu, 28 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, where well-heeled homeowners have sought to use their influence to limit growth. The median price for a home in the 21-mile-long city was $2.09 million in November, according to CoreLogic DataQuick. The median household income is about $136,000.

“Measure R gives residents a stronger voice over the future of our community,” Rob and Michele Reiner, who led the campaign for the initiative and own a home in Malibu but aren’t residents there, said in a statement.

Malibu City Attorney Christi Hogin said the municipality would prevail in the case.