|Description||The California Coastal Commission met in San Diego at the Wyndham San Diego Bayside Wednesday, Oct. 10 through Friday, Oct. 12. The meeting featured a busy agenda. Items addressed at the hearing included a public access enforcement order, an informational item for the Commission’s draft Environmental Justice Policy, an appeal to development at Hollister Ranch, a coastal access issues in La Jolla, a beach preservation issue in Solana Beach, the special event permit for Mavericks Challenge surf contest and an approval for after-the-fact development at the San Simeon Wastewater Treatment Plant. The meeting resulted in a record six vote charts.|
Issues voted on at this Meeting
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|Batiquitos Lagoon Public Access Trail||The Commission heard an enforcement action to resolve long-standing violations of more than 30 years related to the failure to construct a public access trail at a residential community in Carlsbad known as the Rosalena community. The community is situated on a blufftop on the north side of Batiquitos Lagoon. The trail will overlook the Batiquitos Lagoon Ecological Reserve, part of the state’s network of marine protected areas.
In addition to the trail, the Home Owners Association (HOA) will install benches, interpretive signage, delineate public parking spaces and will secure a public access easement over an adjacent property to increase the value of the Rosalena trail and link it with a larger network making it part of an interconnected network of trails.
Staff proposed a consent administrative penalty in addition to the consent cease and desist order. Staff reported that the current HOA board owners have been very cooperative and that they purchased their properties after the buildings were originally constructed. With that in mind staff, recommended an administrative fine of $540,000, which will go to the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation to fund school programs and potential land acquisitions.
|La Jolla Public Access - Kretowicz||The Coastal Commission reviewed a permit amendment to replace decorative paving currently within the City of La Jolla’s Princess Street public right-of-way with new granite porcelain tiles and signage identifying public access to the pocket beach.
The existing paving material was originally placed in the Princess Street cul-de-sac public right-of-way without benefit of a coastal development permit (CDP), but it was subsequently approved after-the-fact by the Commission in a previous CDP amendment. The existing decorative pavement raises concerns that create the illusion of a private driveway and deter public access to the existing vertical easement and accessway.
The staff recommendation takes into account that decorative pavement was previously approved at this location. Special conditions include additional signage of the vertical accessway, street markings that help to indicate this area as a public right-of-way and a no parking sign within the cul-de-sac.
Additionally, there is an existing vertical access easement on the applicant’s property that starts next to the cul-de-sac and leads down to a public pocket beach, and a stairway to make this vertical access easier for the public to use is currently in the planning stages by a the Environmental Center of San Diego (ECO San Diego).
Commissioners voted 11-1 to approve the staff recommendation.
|Long Beach LCP Amendment - Demolish and Rebuild||The City of Long Beach’s proposed LCP Amendment is a triennial general update. One of the primary proposed changes is the revision of the definitions of “demolish” and “rebuild.” These definitions provide a threshold at which demolition and reconstruction would result in the loss of rights to nonconforming uses and, therefore, be required to comply with current standards for public access, public view, and sensitive habitat protections and minimization of hazards. Coastal Commission staff’s suggested modifications to the definitions will ensure protections of coastal resources and minimize potential impacts of coastal hazards.
The definitions of these terms are especially important due to their implications for shoreline armoring restrictions and public access requirements. Under current law, shoreline protection is only a right for development that was in existence when the Coastal Act was passed. Rebuilt structures are not entitled to coastal armoring.
The City agreed to incorporate staff’s suggested modifications on the definitions and the amendment passed unanimously.
|Mavericks Challenge - Surf Contest||The Coastal Commission reviewed a permit application by the World Surf League to authorize a special event permit for a one-day “Mavericks Challenge” surf competition near Pillar Point Harbor in a window of time between October 1, 2018 and March 31, 2018. Activities will include closure of a portion of a trail and parking lot, limits to use of Pillar Point Harbor and Mavericks Beach shoreline area as well as implementation of traffic and parking controls.
As proposed, the event would comprise separate divisions for men and women, each with multiple heats; three heats for 10 female contestants and seven heats for 24 male contestants with equitable prize money for all competitors. This represents a significant step forward in gender equity compared to previous contests, which excluded women from competition, and is a result of pressure and requirements put forth by the Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission in order to ensure equitable public access at this event. The World Surf League recognized the need for change in the face of pressure from the state agencies, the San Mateo County Harbor District, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing and others in announcing these changes.
Coastal Commissioners approved the coastal development permit unanimously.
|Rancho Cuarta - Hollister Ranch Appeal||Commissioners Aaron Peskin and Carole Groom appealed two Santa Barbara County combined permits for development in Hollister Ranch. The permits include construction of a single-family home with a guesthouse, ancillary structures and replacement of a bridge. In its approval of the two subject permits, the County required one payment of the $5,000 in-lieu fee specified in Coastal Act Section 30610.8.
Coastal Act section 30610.8 was created by legislation to mandate an in-lieu fee program to fund the “expeditious” and “timely” implementation of a coastal access program at Hollister Ranch. However, to date, implementation of public access to the Hollister Ranch coastline has not been fulfilled, either through use of the in-lieu fees collected or pursuant to a permit or action taken by the County. Hollister Ranch includes a 30-mile stretch of coastline between Jalama County Park and Gaviota State Park where no public access currently exists.
Given that the in-lieu fee is intended to be per permit, not per parcel, and that the in-lieu fee is unlikely to result in timely or expeditious implementation of public access, Coastal Commission staff found that the County’s permits raise Substantial Issue with the Coastal Act and the County’s LCP. Commissioners agreed and unanimously found Substantial Issue. A de novo hearing will follow at a future hearing.
|Setbacks in Solana Beach - Harris||The Coastal Commission reviewed a permit application for a remodel of an existing blufftop home in Solana Beach. Coastal Commission staff recommended denial of the application since the majority of the development would be located in a non-conforming, hazardous location. There is currently no shoreline protection below the existing home. While the proposed alterations do not constitute “redevelopment”, they will extend the economic life of the structure in a hazardous location, seaward of the City’s Geologic Setback Line (GSL). The GSL factors in sea level rise and future bluff erosion rates as well as historic rates of erosion.
Repair and maintenance of the structure is permitted and the applicant could potentially redevelop the site and construct a home with a significantly larger setback from the bluff edge than currently exists.
Commissioners agreed with staff and unanimously denied the project.