From ActCoastal

Year 2015
Month November
Location Half Moon Bay
Description The November hearing took place in Half Moon Bay and focused on a proposed temporary Coastal Development Permit (CDP) application addressing erosion at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, a CDP application to allow for the world-renowned Maverick’s surf contest, and a CDP application for a housing development in Pismo Beach.

Initially coastal advocates had concerns about the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) request to use “soft structures” to help with erosion control at Ocean Beach – which currently has an admirable long-term plan in place for managed retreat of the road and highway that should sustainably address future erosion. Following public comment and feedback from Coastal Commission Staff, there was a approval of the needed short-term erosion control mechanisms and support of the continued work towards the longer term measure of planned retreat.

Over the years, Maverick’s surf contest has grown in popularity, drawing huge crowds to the small town and the delicate bluffs that overlook the surf break. Initially the CDP looked to substantially infringe upon public access to the beaches and bluffs and to hand over exclusive rights to a single private entity, Cartel Management. While the unfolding of the contest will be the true test of the proposed management structure, there appeared to be healthy dialogue between the representative for Cartel Management with local residents as to how this would impact issues such as traffic and public access to the event, which will be mostly in the form of viewing via broadcast, as the coast and bluffs surrounding the area require special protection from the crowds of people that have trampled the coastal habitat in the past.

A de novo hearing was held for The Silver Shoals development in Pismo Beach after the Commission ruled there were substantial issues with the project infringing upon public access through the loss of the viewshed due to the building height proposed. This viewshed is a rarity – a singular viewpoint along the Coast Highway south of San Francisco and north of Gaviota. Whether or not the building height was in line with local building regulations and the LCP – and thus the Coastal Act – was debated, with some Commissioners arguing that proposed height allowed for “some” viewshed to remain and others argued that it was their mandate to protect as much viewshed as possible and not just some.

Issues voted on at this Meeting

Click on an issue to read full description

Issue Summary Outcome
SFPUC Ocean Beach Temporary Erosion Management This CDP is to temporarily allow the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to use “soft structures” to help with erosion control at Ocean Beach over the next six years while preparing to implement the long-term managed retreat solution to the erosion threat. Ocean Beach, and particularly the Sloat Blvd. area, has experienced serious erosion problems over the years. In 1996, the beach protecting the road, a parking lot and a wastewater lines completed washed away. The first of a series of emergency rock revetments was constructed. Despite a few sand backpassing projects, the shoreline south of Sloat continued to erode. During the last El Nino Winter of 2010, a portion of the coastal road (the Great Highway) collapsed onto the beach.

The sand relocation component of the project will involve the excavation of up to 100,000 cubic yards of sand per year from the northern reach of Ocean Beach. This excavated sand would be placed within an approximately 0.5-mile stretch extending south from Sloat Boulevard and immediately to the west of the bluff edge. Additionally, sandbags would be installed prior to or during the storm season if a sufficient erosion notch develops in the bluff such that it intrudes upon the Great Highway and related public infrastructure.

The project is explicitly temporary to manage the issue of erosion the area faces while progress is made toward the long term solution for which an annual report will be submitted to the Executive Director for review, identifying progress made toward implementation of the long-term solution.

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Silver Shoals Development The Silver Shoals development item had previously appeared in front of the Commission as a project, but had been returned to Staff with substantial issue. This housing development will occur along the Coast Highway – a section of the highway that is a critical viewshed south of San Francisco and North of Gaviota. The 3.7-acre blufftop development would impede upon public access to the rare viewshed. The question came down to how much of the viewshed would be impacted. The conditions added to the proposed development would limit the height of the homes to 15-foot above natural grade (protecting 80 percent of the viewshed), in contrast to the 25-foot proposed by the applicant (which retains only 68 percent).

Commissioner Vargas moved to amend special condition 1 resulting in changes to 1a, 1b, and 1g. This would change special conditions providing for additional parking as well as the proposed building restrictions. Amending the conditions set forth in 1a, 1b, and 1g would permit the 25-foot building height, provide for only a half cul-de-sac and optimizing parking on only the north side of South Silver Shoals Drive (as opposed to the original special condition which called for parking on both sides of the road).

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Vote Chart for this Meeting

Coastal Commission Vote Chart

November 2015 Meeting

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

Commissioner SFPUC Ocean Beach Temporary Erosion ManagementSilver Shoals Development
CaroleGroom 2012.jpg Carole Groom Good Vote Good Vote
DBochco.jpg Dayna Bochco Good Vote Bad Vote
EffieT-S.png Effie Turnbull-Sanders Good Vote Bad Vote
Erik-280x300.png Erik Howell Good Vote Bad Vote
GCox.png Greg Cox Good Vote Bad Vote
Vargas.jpg Mark Vargas Good Vote Bad Vote
McClure.jpg Martha McClure Good Vote Bad Vote
Shallenberger.jpg Mary K. Shallenberger Good Vote Good Vote
BVWtY5tv.jpeg Mary Luevano Good Vote Bad Vote
RU.jpg Roberto Uranga Good Vote Bad Vote
Kinsey.jpg Steve Kinsey Good Vote Bad Vote
Mitchell.jpg Wendy Mitchell Absent for Vote Absent for Vote