|Summary|| On Thursday, the Commission heard a cease and desist order involving the collapse and closure, since December 2016, of a public access stairway and trail system that provides public access down a steep coastal bluff in Pacifica. The violations also include unpermitted development activities including unauthorized grading, trenching, and the placement of large boulders, which occurred on the beach and coastal bluff. These actions have violated an existing public access easement required by a CDP for construction of adjacent residential properties.
The Commission reached a settlement with the properties at issue using their administrative penalties authority under Section 30821, requiring the violators to pay $1,450,000 into the Commission’s Violation Remediation Account as well as to restore public access and remove unpermitted development - including the large boulders on the beach.
The Surfrider Foundation and the California Coastal Protection Network both spoke in support of this order and the use of administrative penalties as measures to protect public access and restore the beach. As Susan Jordan of CCPN pointed out, this is a reminder that you have to be vigilant with coastal access.
Coastal Commission staff worked with the property owners to come to an agreement and therefore the cease and desist orders were consent-based. Commissioners unanimously approved the orders.
|Outcome Description||Commissioners expressed their concern with the nature of the violation and the respondent’s initial failure to respond to Commission’s attempts to resolve the violation. Commissioner Carole Groom motioned to approve the cease and desist order and Commissioner Aaron Peskin seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.|
|Why You Should Care||The Coastal Commission’s enforcement division is effectively leveraging their administrative penalty authority - acquired in 2014 - to issue fines for public access violations. The Commission’s use of administrative penalties is an effective and fair tool and means of protecting the public’s interest and right to access our magnificent coast.|
|Decision Type||Cease and Desist Consent Order|
|Opposition to Project|
|Coastal Act Policies||30821|
View Meeting Page for the meeting where this issue was discussed/voted on.