|Summary|| The City of Dana Point submitted an Local Coastal Plan (LCP) request to amend the Land Use Plan (LUP) to establish hours of operation for the Mid-Strand and Central Strand public beach accessways (5 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and to allow the issuance of a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the installation of retractable automated locking gates at the Mid-Strand and Central Strand public beach accessways to enforce the hours of operation. The LCP amendment also states that other accessways providing access to the beach, including the South Strand Switchback Trail, Strand Beach Park and the Strand Revetment Trail shall be open 24 hours per day.
Staff’s recommendation rejects the installation of gates and suggests, as an alternative to gates at the subject accessways, that the City could install simple single-strand ropes, or similar device (e.g. single chain), that can be draped across the accessways and hooked in a “closed” position during hours of closure and that will hang or be hooked in an open position at the accessways during hours of operation. A rope, along with the informational signage the City has proposed, will provide a less confrontational means of informing beach goers of when the accessways are available and not available for use by the public.
|Outcome Description|| In 2005, a residential development was constructed with 125 single family units. The city closed the Mid-Strand and Central Strand access ways in the evenings purportedly in order to protect their privacy and prevent potential criminal acts. The six-year battle has come down to this one issue for the Coastal Commission to decide: Gates, or no gates?
Commissioners Robert Uranga, Mark Vargas and Steve Kinsey spoke in favor of the City’s application to use retractable gates in order to improve public safety. They pointed out that there are several other access points in this area that do not have gates and that the city accommodated requests to extend the hours of access to accomodate surfers and other beach goers.
Commissioners Carole Groom, Effie Turnbull-Sanders, Eric Howell, Olga Diaz and Dayna Bocho all countered that the gates are an unnecessary obstacle to access that much of the population may see as a deterrent for access. Furthermore, gates often lead to enforcement issues.
The Commission vote 8-4 to approve staff’s recommendation and require the City of Dana Point to remove the gates all together.
|Why You Should Care||The presence of gates, whether open or closed, can give the impression that the accessways are not available for public use. Public access and recreation are among the Coastal Act’s highest priorities. The legislature expressly stated in Section 30001.5 of the Coastal Act that one of the state’s primary goals in the coastal zone is to “[m]aximize public access to and along the coast and maximize public recreational opportunities in the coastal zone.” Limiting such uses must be very carefully considered and only the minimum limitation necessary to protect public safety or to serve some other valid purpose should be allowed.|
|Decision Type||LCP Amendment|
|Staff Recommendation||Denial and Approval as modified|
|Opposition to Project||Sierra Club|
|Coastal Act Policies||Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act|
|Mary K. Shallenberger|
View Meeting Page for the meeting where this issue was discussed/voted on.