Santa Monica Mountains Land Use Plan

From ActCoastal

Month April
Year 2014
Summary On April 10th, the Coastal Commission reviewed the Land Use Plan submitted by the County of Los Angeles for the unincorporated area of the Santa Monica Mountains (SMM), in the coastal zone. Without a certified LCP, the Commission had been left in the position of having to approve all development in this area for decades and was forced to rely on an outdated Land Use Plan that had been certified in 1986. The proposed 2014 Land Use Plan was the result of a remarkable collaboration between Coastal Commission Executive Director Charles Lester, Coastal Commission staff, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and County staff that extended over a period of two years. A key provision was the establishment of three levels of Sensitive Resource Areas. The highest level bars any residential or commercial development (unprecedented in the State until now), and creates a Resource Conservation Program to acquire land for permanent protection. Other provisions include a prohibition on the expansion of vineyards, the allowance of small-scale organic and biodynamic farming, and the creation of an Equestrian Compliance program to bring illegal horse facilities on private property into compliance to the maximum extent feasible and requires that all such facilities institute Best Management Practices for water quality.
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Outcome Description Commissioner Shallenberger made the motion to approve the LCP per staff’s Suggested Modifications, but she amended her motion to re-instate the Equestrian Compliance program (CO-12) per the County’s suggestion with some minor modifications. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bochco. In speaking to her motion, Commissioner Shallenberger applauded the willingness of the County to compromise, praised the extraordinary nature of this Land Use Plan (LUP), the County’s willingness to prohibit inappropriate development in the most sensitive resources areas and its support for continuing small scale organic and biodynamic agriculture while prohibiting the expansion of vineyards. Commissioner Bochco pointed out that Big Sur does not allow vineyards and Commissioner Zimmer clarified that the County has a legal right to establish standards that are more stringent than the Coastal Act itself to protect its most valuable and sensitive resources. The motion was carried unanimously.
Why You Should Care The Santa Monica Mountains is a unique wilderness area comprised of approximately 52,000 acres of largely undeveloped steep canyons and ravines in close proximity to the dense urban environment of Los Angeles. More than half of the area is in public ownership and is designated for recreation and habitat protection. With an out-of-date Land Use Plan certified in 1986, the SMM was in danger of losing its unique character to inappropriate residential and vineyard development. Preservation of this area was a top priority for residents, the County and the Commission. This is also the first LUP to be approved under the full oversight of Executive Director Lester in his assigned mission to work with local governments to achieve Local Coastal Plan certifications and updates.
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Decision Type Update of Land Use Plan
Staff Recommendation Approval with Suggested Modifications Staff Report: The staff recommended approval of the LUP with 60 suggested modifications; the vast majority of these were additions or clarifications. By the time of the hearing, the sole difference between the County and the staff was staff’s deletion of CO-12 that established an Equestrian Compliance Program for horse-owners’ who had facilities on their properties that were not in compliance with the standards in the LCP. As written by the County, CO-12 will require horse-owners who installed facilities between 1977 and 2001 to bring their facilities into compliance to the maximum extent practicable and to implement water quality Best Management Practices. Facilities established after 2001 will be required to be in full compliance with the standards in the LCP.
Staff Report
Lobbyist/Agent M. Andriette Culbertson
Opposition to Project The opposition to the project was led by several well-known Coastal Commission lobbyists who regularly represent developers and landowners seeking to build in Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains. They argued that vineyards should be allowed to expand (no restrictions were identified in their proposal) and that horse-owners should not be required to comply with the standards of the LCP as outlined by the County.
Coastal Act Policies All

Voting Detail for Santa Monica Mountains Land Use Plan

Individual vote detail for Issue: Santa Monica Mountains Land Use Plan
Effie Turnbull-SandersGood Vote
Mary K. ShallenbergerGood Vote
Erik HowellGood Vote
Steve KinseyGood Vote
Wendy MitchellGood Vote
Martha McClureGood Vote
Mark VargasGood Vote
Dayna BochcoGood Vote
Greg CoxGood Vote
Carole GroomGood Vote
Jana ZimmerGood Vote
Dr. Robert GarciaGood Vote by Alternate

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