From ActCoastal

Year 2014
Month April
Location Santa Barbara, CA
Description The April meeting was lengthy and contained several contentious items. The Commission approved two projects that were strongly contested by coastal advocates—one project in Monterey for a mega-resort to be “built into” eroding dunes on sensitive habitat; and another project in Santa Barbara that will also be constructed on important coastal lands near a seal rookery and nesting areas for the White-Tail Kite. The Santa Barbara project was exceptionally controversial and disappointing because the Commission followed atypical procedures that effectively closed the public hearing, yet the Commission continued to negotiate with the developer from the dais. One positive outcome was the Commission’s vote to approve the Santa Monica Mountains Land Use Plan (LUP), which drew hundreds of people in attendance supporting the LUP. Another highlight was the denial of a new hotel in Long Beach that would have eliminated low cost rooms in exchange for high-end rooms. New Commissioner Erik Howell participated in this meeting and Jeff DuClos voted as Robert Garcia’s alternate.

Issues voted on at this Meeting

Click on an issue to read full description

Issue Summary Outcome
Monterey Bay Shores Resort On April 9th, the Commission devoted 10 hours to an application by Ed Ghandour – Security National Guarantee Inc. (SNG), to build a ten-story, 368 unit luxury condo and hotel complex on 39 acres of coastal sand dunes in Sand City, (Monterey County). The project was based on an outdated Local Coastal Plan (LCP) certified by the Coastal Commission in 1986, but never subject to any significant updates. The 1986 LCP failed to identify any significant environmentally sensitive habitat areas (ESHA). When the hotel was proposed, staff identified sensitive habitats. The USFWS has designated two threatened species (Western Snowy Plover and Monterey Spineflower), and the endangered Smith’s blue butterfly on the property. Yet, the developer has succeeded with multiple lawsuits to restrict the Commission’s review to the much lower standards of the 1986 LCP. Despite 5 years of urging by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the developer has refused to seek an ‘Incidental Take Permit” which requires creation of a Habitat Conservation Plan in cooperation with USFWS biologists. Instead, his consultants drafted a Habitat Protection Plan that is strongly criticized as inadequate by state, federal and independent biologists. Red Dot.png
Paradiso del Mare Development On April 9th, the Commission heard an appeal on two large-scale residential estates, approved by Santa Barbara County on the Gaviota coast. The proposed project would be constructed on sensitive coastal habitat that is home to special status raptor (White-Tailed Kite) and directly above a seal rookery (one of only two publicly accessible seal rookeries remaining on the mainland coast of Santa Barbara County). The public has used the project area for generations to walk along the coast to access the beach. One of the estates would block the public beach access trail used for decades to access the well-known Naples surf break. Red Dot.png
Santa Monica Mountains Land Use Plan 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. Green Dot.png
Studio OneEleven – Long Beach Motel On April 11th, the Commission unanimously denied a Coastal Development Permit for the demolition of a 40 unit (low-moderate cost) motel for the construction of a seven level 72 room hotel and up to 33 residential condo units in Long Beach. The Commission responded to an appeal by hotel workers union (Unite Here Local 11), who contended that the project would remove lower cost overnight accommodations provided by the motel. The union also successfully argued to the Commission that the approval of the project would support policy language that would threaten the continued existence of two additional low cost motels. The appellants stressed that their members “who keep the hotels running” would lose access to low cost coastal accommodations. The issue spurred Commission discussion of the amount and adequacy of “in-lieu” fees, assessed on new hotel rooms to provide adequate low cost accommodations. So the Commission directed staff to return with an assessment of the in-lieu fee program and to consider other options that might preserve public access to low cost coastal accommodations. Green Dot.png

Vote Chart for this Meeting

Coastal Commission Vote Chart

April 2014 Meeting

Green Dot.png = Positive Conservation Vote         Red Dot.png = Negative Conservation Vote

Commissioner Monterey Bay Shores ResortParadiso del Mare DevelopmentSanta Monica Mountains Land Use PlanStudio OneEleven – Long Beach Motel
CaroleGroom 2012.jpg Carole Groom Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote Good Vote
DBochco.jpg Dayna Bochco Bad Vote Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote
Garcia.png Dr. Robert Garcia Good Vote by Alternate Good Vote by Alternate Good Vote by Alternate Good Vote
EffieT-S.png Effie Turnbull-Sanders Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote Good Vote
Erik-280x300.png Erik Howell Bad Vote Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote
GCox.png Greg Cox Bad Vote Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote
Zimmer.jpg Jana Zimmer Bad Vote Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote
Vargas.jpg Mark Vargas Bad Vote Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote
McClure.jpg Martha McClure Bad Vote Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote
Shallenberger.jpg Mary K. Shallenberger Good Vote Good Vote Good Vote Good Vote
Kinsey.jpg Steve Kinsey Bad Vote Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote
Mitchell.jpg Wendy Mitchell Bad Vote Bad Vote Good Vote Good Vote