August Coastal Commission Report

From ActCoastal

By Jennifer Savage | Published 2016/10/03

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Commentary is provided by ActCoastal partners.

This blog represents the views of the authors, and does not necessarily reflect the positions of ActCoastal and its partner organizations.

August Coastal Commission Hearing: an overview

While none of the items on the Coastal Commission’s August agenda resulted in vote charts, many of them still deserve attention. The meeting took place at the Scott’s Valley Hilton and drew about 300 people the first day. Many of those attending utilized public comment to declare support for Commission enforcement staff’s cease-and-desist order given to CEMEX’s sand-mining operation in Monterey County and encourage a timely shut-down of the plant – see the full story in the Monterey County Weekly.

Legislation (See background on coastal bills in play here.)

The Legislative Report contained updates on several bills, most notably: SB 1190, a bill by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson to ban ex partes; AB 2002, a bill by Assemblymembers Mark Stone, Marc Levine and Toni Atkins requiring developers’ agents to register as lobbyists; and AB 2616, a bill by Assemblymember Autumn Burke that would insert environmental justice language into the Coastal Act and ensure better representation of oft-marginalized constituencies on the Coastal Commission. All three bills are moving forward; most notably, Jackson’s office is working to revise amendments inserted into SB 1190 by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, as reported in the Los Angeles Times.

Moro Cojo Affordable Housing, Monterey County Appeal No. A-3-MCO-16-0017

This appeal questioned Monterey County’s decision to amend a permit to Community Housing and Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc. (CHISPA) for reduction of affordable housing term for 161 existing single-family homes near Castroville Blvd. in unincorporated Prunedale, North Monterey County. As noted in the Monterey County Weekly story on the issue, when the project was approved in 1994, county supervisors overrode major environmental impacts of the development, citing the “acute need for affordable housing.” Residents now wish to lift the deed restrictions associated with the project, which would allow homeowners to sell their houses at market rate, effectively ending the “affordable housing” element of the original project. Commissioners voted 9-2 in favor of the appellant with a finding of substantial issue, so this issue will return for more discussion at a future meeting. Overnight RV Parking Restrictions, Santa Cruz Appeal No. A-3-STC-16-0063

One of the most contentious items on the agenda triggered the angry stomping out of a Santa Cruz city councilperson. Briefly, the City of Santa Cruz voted to prohibit RV parking between midnight and 5 a.m.; activists claim the ban unfairly targets the homeless. The full story is in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Loperena single-family home Application No. A-3-SLO-15-0001

This application by Jack Loperena to construct a 2,200 sq.-foot single-family home in Cayucos drew ire from neighbors and a list of conditions from staff. The lot in question can barely be described as “buildable” with any accuracy – this item illustrates the divide that occurs when what a property owner desires conflicts with reality. Despite clear differences, Loperena conceded to the conditions put forth by staff, which included a larger setback and smaller home. What to do when a site is fundamentally undevelopable remains an unsolved question.