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October 2018 Hearing Report

By Mandy Sackett | Published 15 November 2018

October Hearing Report

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 and additional items are discussed below.

More information and full vote charts can be viewed on the following issues:

Further, the items below are informational items or non-voting items from the Coastal Commission’s October hearing.

Martin’s Beach

On Wednesday morning, the Surfrider Foundation gave a brief update on Surfrider's legal battle over public access at Martins Beach: This month, more than five years of litigation culminated with the U.S. Supreme Court denying Vinod Khosla's petition, which means Surfrider’s legal victories stand. Surfrider asked the Commission to affirm their commitment to this issue and to work in tandem with State Lands to follow up with all possible options to ensure continued public access at Martins Beach. “After all, it's not about us, it's about everyone the beach belongs to!” asserted Mandy Sackett, California Policy Coordinator, as she showed a video about those with a long history at Martins Beach, the Beach Belongs to Everyone!

Environmental Justice

On Wednesday, Coastal Commission staff discussed their draft Environmental Justice Policy and presented a video on the Commission’s outreach efforts and participation in an environmental justice training held in Sacramento. The draft policy’s goal is to provide a framework for identifying and analyzing project impacts on underserved and disadvantaged communities so the Commission can make decisions that mitigate or avoid harm. Public comment will be open until November 7, 2018.

Carlsbad Desalination Plant

On Thursday morning, during public comment, the Surfrider Foundation presented information about ongoing chronic toxicity violations and other violations at Poseidon Water LLC’s Carlsbad Desalination Plant. In addition to the ongoing violations, the plant has failed to deliver approximately 20 percent of the supply promised to the San Diego County Water Authority since operations began in December 2015 due to source water conditions (algae blooms, salinity and pH issues), mechanical failures, repair and maintenance and other issues. The shortfalls beg the question as to whether desalination is truly more reliable than its alternatives. Watch the full presentation [here].

San Onofre State Park Seawall

On Thursday, Coastal Commission’s San Diego District staff gave an update on the status of the temporary authorization of a seawall at San Onofre State Beach. Staff reported that State Parks is on track to apply for a permanent coastal development application and submit a long-term hazards plan. However, State Parks has apparently not complied with other conditions in the temporary authorization, including; providing a mechanism for public involvement in the long term hazards plan, a living shoreline analysis and conducting surf and erosion monitoring and making those results public. The Surfrider Foundation expressed concern about the effects of the seawall at San Onofre State Beach and showed recent photographs of the significant erosion conditions currently impacting the beach. San Onofre State Park is in great need of a thoughtful long-term hazard mitigation plan that carefully evaluates all alternatives and protects access and recreational opportunities.

San Simeon Wastewater Treatment Plant

On Friday, the Coastal Commission, in an attempt to resolve decades of extensive unpermitted development at the San Simeon Wastewater Treatment Plant (Plant), heard a coastal development application by the San Simeon Community Services District (District) to resolve the violations after-the-fact. As part of Coastal Commission staff’s special conditions, they recommended the permit authorization be limited to 20 years. Staff contends that the Plant is no longer existing development under the Coastal Act given the extensive modifications over the past several decades that cumulatively amount to redevelopment. The Plant is located in a coastal hazard zone and potential impacts will be exacerbated with sea level rise. Staff’s special conditions include a requirement for the District to analyze alternative locations for the Plant in a hazards plan. The District disagreed with the staff recommendations for the 20 year duration of authorization and mitigation measures that include construction of a bridge to enhance a nearby coastal trail. Ultimately, the District withdrew their permit application at the hearing and committed to resubmittal and further negotiation with staff. If the permit application is not submitted in a timely manner, enforcement action may be taken.

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