July Coastal Commission Hearing

From ActCoastal

By Amanda Winchell | Published 2016/07/20

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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.

The July hearing was the unanticipated stage for a broader discussion on public access to the coast and the impact of parking on access.

Discussion as to the availability of parking and how parking fees dictate accessibility to the coast is was ignited over the Del Mar parking fee item. Of particular interest was the comparison made by Commissioner Wendy Mitchell to the proposed State Parks fees for parking along the [Sonoma Coast]. Mitchell stated that she didn’t understand why there was such protest against the Sonoma item but not Del Mar. Commissioner Cox pointed out that the City of Del Mar had heavily invested in visitor-serving facilities such as bike lanes, bike paths and more – a significantly different situation than in Sonoma County. Ultimately, a motion to continue the item for three months for further examination was made and approved.

The topic continued with the appeal of a Venice restaurant that was approved of by the City of Los Angeles, but did not meet Coastal Act standards. The biggest conflict was the lack of parking spaces – for which in the Venice Land Use Plan offers formal guidance.

In sharp contrast to the comments made by Commissioners about protecting affordable parking during the Del Mar discussion, conversation on this item included such statements as “Sometimes we get stuck in this idea that parking is everything” and “Venice is a different place.” Most worrisome among these was the proclamation, “A restaurant in the Coastal Zone is access to the coast.” (Such language has yet to be identified in the Coastal Act.)

Without acknowledging the undue burden on Commission staff, Commissioners voted 6-5 to continue the item.

For in-depth coverage of these items, check out this [blog].

Another highlighted issue heard at the July hearing – again bringing into question whether a City’s LCP/LUP was correctly interpreted – were new developments approved for the coastal bluffs of Encinitas. These developments were approved by the City of Encinitas with insufficient setbacks to ensure the longevity of the development without the use of bluff control devices. One item, the Lindstrom development was approved with conditions and another – the Martin development – was found to have substantial issue and will be discussed in detail at future meeting.

This issue and these cases are incredibly important – not just for the setting of precedent – but also for the building of capacity and ensuring the information and processes necessary are clearly articulated.

[Click here] to review the vote chart.

The August Coastal Commission hearing will be held in Santa Cruz from 8/10 – 8/12.