Sharp Park Coastal Armoring
|Summary||Item W9a 2-17-0702 Sharp Park Golf Course ATF Coastal Armoring
San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (SFRPD) sought an after-the-fact authorization of a previously constructed shoreline armoring structure that is located seaward of the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica, consisting of an earthen berm approximately 3,200 feet in total length, including two sections of rock riprap fronting the berm, approximately 1,425 feet in length total.
In response to heavy storms, caused by the El Niño winter storms of 1982/83, the Commission approved multiple CDP amendments to authorize reconstruction of the berm to protect the Sharp Park Golf Course. In the time since, the berm has been gradually modified, including through additions of rock, without a CDP. SFRPD submitted this after-the-fact CDP application requesting authorization for the unpermitted berm expansion.
SFRPD did not simply repair and/or maintain the berm in its permitted configuration, but instead created a new armoring structure at this location over time. As a result, the expanded and augmented berm is evaluated as a new replacement structure rather than maintenance and repair of existing permitted development.
The proposed armoring structure is designed to protect the existing Sharp Park Golf Course. The Golf Course provides an affordable, visitor-serving recreational opportunity open to the public at a lower cost than most other golf clubs in the area, many of which are private and require membership fees. The staff report also claims that impacts to coastal resources from the armoring can be appropriately mitigated through conditions of approval requiring public access enhancements. However, opponents argued that the existing golf course is not coastal dependent and does not qualify for shoreline armoring and that access to and along the beach itself should not be sacrificed for access near the beach.
Since at least 2013, the Surfrider Foundation has provided repeated notice to the Commission of SFRPD’s violation. Surfrider has long considered SFRPD’s conduct unacceptable: SFRPD has violated the Coastal Act for several years, by constructing and maintaining a rock revetment on the property without a required CDP. The National Parks Conservation Association and several local residents also spoke in opposition to the project.
Ultimately, the permit was approved with an amendment to reduce the duration of the permit from 20 to 10 years and monitoring report from 10 to 5 years - a slight improvement but ultimately, this seawall should not have been permitted. The Vote Chart reflects the main motion.
|Outcome Description||During deliberation, Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh expressed concern about the message that approving this ATF development would send to current and future violators. Commissioner Donne Brownsey mentioned that it is worth considering that the County Recreation and Parks Department may continue to violate the Coastal Act. Commissioner Carole Groom spoke fondly of the golf course and added that it is an important economic driver for the City. Commissioner Dayna Bochco voiced concerns about flooding for nearby development if the armoring is removed. Commissioner Aaron Peskin motioned to approve the staff recommendation to permit the ATF seawall.
Commissioner Mark Vargas spoke in opposition to the staff recommendation, noting that the Commission battled to approve the Sea Level Rise Guidance plan the concludes that armoring is not the solution to climate change adaptation. He remarked, “A seawall is a seawall is a seawall.”
Commissioner Aminzadeh motioned to have the applicant to renew their permit in 10 years as opposed to the 20 years as recommended in the staff report. The motion would also require a monitoring report in 5 years instead of 10. The amended motion was seconded by Commissioner Padilla. The amendment passed 10-2. The main motion, to approve the seawall, was initiated by Commissioner Peskin and seconded by Commissioner Groom passed 9-3.
|Why You Should Care||Approval of this after-the-fact authorization of a previously constructed shoreline armoring structure will continue the alarming trend of unpermitted hard armoring of our coast allowed to remain permanent, thereby reducing public access through increasing erosion. To approve the permit also raises questions regarding the Coastal Act’s effectiveness if such flagrant disregard of the law by applicants is not only tolerated, but condoned by after-the-fact approval.
It is not justifiable to sacrifice access to and along the beach in the name of protecting access “near” the beach, as there are certain recreational opportunities that occur on the beach and in the water, including surfing, beach combing, fishing, which are displaced when access to and along the beach is given away. The approval of this permit equals the loss of the beach and recreational opportunities associated with it.
|Decision Type||ATF CDP|
|Staff Recommendation||Approval with Conditions|
|Opposition to Project||Surfrider Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association|
|Coastal Act Policies||Chapter 3|
Voting Detail for Sharp Park Coastal Armoring
View Meeting Page for the meeting where this issue was discussed/voted on.