May 2018 Hearing Report

From ActCoastal

By Mandy Sackett | Published 2018/06/11

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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.

May Coastal Commission Hearing

The Coastal Commission meeting took place on Wednesday, May 9 through Friday, May 11 at the Board of Supervisors’ Chamber in Santa Rosa. The May meeting agenda had several important issues including sea level rise, short-term rentals, beach preservation and water quality. Notably, the Commission passed an LCP update by the City and County of San Francisco for coastal hazards and sea level rise at Ocean Beach. Additionally, the County of Santa Barbara’s proposed short-term rental LCP update was denied. Finally, the Oxnard Harbor District’s proposed dredging project was certified for offshore deposition but prohibited for beach nourishment due to potential impacts to the beach profile and water quality.

Goleta Beach Update

On Wednesday, during public comment, the Surfrider Foundation gave an update on the coastal armoring and erosion situation at Goleta Beach in Santa Barbara County. In short, the grunion and the beach are suffering at the expense of poor coastal armoring decisions. Watch the full presentation on our YouTube channel.

San Francisco Western Shoreline Area Plan LUP Update

The City and County of San Francisco proposed to amend their Land Use Plan (LUP), also referred to as the Western Shoreline Area Plan, by adding new policies related to coastal hazards. The proposed amendment requires the City to develop and implement proactive adaptation measures applicable to the most severe areas of erosion south of Sloat Boulevard, including managed retreat and beach nourishment, and outlines a framework for the development of future adaptation measures along the entire shoreline based upon best available science. In that sense, the proposed amendment is primarily a statement of the City’s overall intentions, and a precursor to further LCP work.

The Surfrider Foundation, while in support of the amendment, had one suggestion for improvement. They suggested that additional language be added to clarify a potential loophole that may allow new development in the coastal hazard zone when not able to feasibly be located elsewhere. Surfrider suggested clarifying the definition of feasibility to ensure robust alternatives analysis are completed and that feasibility is not based on cost considerations alone. This is an important consideration not only for the Western Shoreline Plan Update but for all future LCP updates dealing with coastal hazards and sea level rise.

Ocean Beach, San Francisco has experienced chronic erosion issues for several decades. This plan is the first step in restoring Ocean Beach and removing existing hard armoring that only exacerbates the erosion issues at South Ocean Beach. Eventually, we can anticipate a wider beach with more access and recreation opportunities. Commissioner Aaron Peskin motioned to approve the LUP update, describing it as “forward-thinking.” The motion passed unanimously.

Hueneme Beach Dredge Material Deposition

The Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter expressed opposition to the Port of Hueneme’s proposal to deposit dredge spoils from the Port onto Huemene Beach on two accounts. First, the dredged material is not entirely non-toxic and deposits of more toxic sediment may end up on a beach where children play and sensitive species reside. Second, the dredges material is made up of 25% fine sediments which will result in poor water quality and high turbidity, which is dangerous for swimmers and impacts the surfing wave because it will create a steep beach face. As such, Surfrider asked that the sediment be placed entirely offshore and not directly on the beach. Commissioners agreed to err on the side of caution and prohibit the sediment from being placed on Hueneme Beach and amended the staff recommendation as such. The motion passed unanimously.

See the full May hearing report and vote charts here.