|Summary|| The city of Solana Beach has been working to develop a method to mitigate for the impacts that coastal structures and non-erodible seacave/notch infills have on public access and recreation since 2007. Policy 4.50 of the existing LUP required that the City
complete a fee study to mitigate for the impacts that coastal structures and nonerodible seacave/notch infills have on public access.
In January 2014, the Commission awarded Solana Beach a $120,000 grant to complete the mitigation method, which required that the City submit an updated Fee Study and an LUP amendment to the Commission.
At the May hearing, Solana Beach proposed their Fee Study – now nearly ten years in the making. The Fee Study is a modification to its LUP Hazards & Shoreline/Bluff Development Policy 4.50.
The method for calculating a fee to account for the impact of shoreline armoring to public recreation (i.e. Public Recreation Fee) varies widely statewide and has resulted in ongoing study. The City of Solana Beach has developed a mitigation methodology, known as the travel cost method, which it is proposing to incorporate into its certified LUP through this amendment.
Staff proposed a number of modifications to the city’s proposed LUP amendment – most included adjustments to the travel cost method equation. There was one main point of disagreement - the wage rate used to calculate the opportunity cost of a day at the beach. Solana Beach recommended using a low wage rate in the travel cost methodology of 33%. Staff argued, and were supported by San Francisco State University economist Phil King, that using a low wage rate in the equation as proposed by Solana Beach would lead to a drastic undervaluation of the beach and instead recommended that 67% of wage rate be used in the equation, which would double the public recreation fee. They also recommended increasing the number of LIDAR data points used to calculate the beach width, for a more accurate snapshot of the beach width over time.
Commissioners voted on two amendments, both of which failed. Ultimately, staff’s recommendation of using a 67% wage rate passed unanimously.
|Outcome Description|| Commissioners first voted on Commissioner Cox’s motion to amend the wage rate to 50% and it failed on a vote of 3-9.
Next, Commissioner Aaron Peskin motioned to amend the staff report to 100% wage rate - which would increase the public recreation fee considerably. Commissioner Peskin stated that given sea level rise and the importance of adaptation, this is a precedential issue. Commissioner Mary Luevano seconded the motion. Commissioner Turnbull Sanders said that she was not comfortable with the amendment without a more tangible explanation for using the higher figure. Commissioner Cox also stated that we would prefer a compromise using staff’s recommendation. Commissioner Shallenberger spoke in support of the amendment.
Commissioners then voted on this proposed amendment and it failed 3-9.
|Why You Should Care||When bluff and shoreline armoring are built along the coastline, they have impacts on public access and recreation both resulting from the loss of public recreational opportunities that occur through direct and indirect loss of beach area that would have formed as erosion (usually of bluffs) moves inland.|
|Decision Type||LCP Amendment|
|Staff Recommendation||Approval with modifications|
|Opposition to Project|
|Coastal Act Policies||Chapter 3|
|Mary K. Shallenberger|
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