April 2018 Hearing Report

From ActCoastal

By Mandy Sackett | Published 2018/05/08

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The Coastal Commission met Wednesday, April 11 through Friday, April 13 at the Redondo Beach Public Library in Redondo Beach, CA. ActCoastal tracked several items this month, including a coastal armoring permit at San Onofre Surf Beach, the reconsideration of a permit for erodible concrete seawall in Solana Beach and a public access violation in Pacifica by Oceanaire Apartments.

San Onofre Revetment

On Wednesday, the Coastal Commission heard California State Park’s application to retain a 900-foot long riprap revetment along Surf Beach that was constructed under an emergency permit issued in February 2017 until February 28, 2019. The emergency revetment was installed as a temporary measure to protect the beachfront road and public parking spaces along Surf Beach during and after the 2016-2017 El Niño winter storms.

The proposed short-term authorization of the revetment is to give State Parks additional time to conduct an engineering survey and draft a long-term hazards management plan for the area, and apply for a new coastal development permit to implement the recommended measures for this site. The Surfrider Foundation asked for denial of the permit given that we already know that the best long-term solution to protecting access at Surf Beach is not armoring it - the staff report readily admits as much.

Commissioners engaged in a thoughtful discussion on the diocese and there was a general consensus that emergency permitting and associated short term extensions is a practice they’d like to move away from - especially given the increasing threat of sea level rise and the need for a more thoughtful approach to coastal erosion. Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh agreed with the Surfrider Foundation that shoreline armoring by emergency permit is becoming a trend, “under the guise of public access but is in effect accelerating erosion which limits enjoyment of our coast and ocean.” Executive Director Jack Ainsworth noted that there is a “need to be more judicious in how emergency permits are administered globally”.

Commissioner Aminzadeh motioned to deny State Park’s application, however, it was not seconded. Commissioner Mark Vargas motioned to approve staff’s recommendation with an amendment to incorporate special conditions suggested by the Surfrider Foundation (including surf monitoring and a stakeholder involvement process). The motion passed. Coastal Commission staff also agreed to come back with a status update and informational item on this at the October hearing.

Solana Beach “Defacto” Seawall

In December 2017, the Commission denied an application to install a 90-foot long, preemptive “erodible” concrete seawall. The applicant then filed for reconsideration, the subject of this item. Coastal Commission staff recommended denial of reconsideration since no new relevant evidence was presented and there has been no error of fact or law which has the potential for altering the Commission’s decision.

Revised findings in support of the Commission’s denial were already approved at the March hearing. The Commission found that the proposed infill would adversely impact beach access, recreation and visual quality, all of which are inconsistent with Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act. The agent, Walter Crampton, maintained the portion of the bluff proposed for armoring is indeed in danger of collapse in Solana Beach. Commissioners unanimously denied the request for reconsideration.