|Description|| The City of Chula Vista was host to the August hearing. This was a particularly significant hearing as the Commission unanimously adopted the Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance document. This document, which went through two rounds of drafting and public comment in October 2013 and May 2015, offers the best available science on sea level rise (SLR) for California and recommendations for addressing SLR within the context of the Coastal Act. The document and related information can be found on the Coastal Commission website.
Another significant issue addressed is that of public access. This was seen through the specific issue of availability of affordable accommodations through the Port of San Diego's application for its project driven Port Master Plan Amendment that would allow for further high quality hotels to be developed along the San Diego Bay. Public access was also addressed through another application for a LCP Amendment that would allow for a new land use designation of bluffs in Malibu- changing from commercial visitor-serving use to mixed residential-recreational.
Also heard was an application for an after-the-fact CDP for a recycling facility that had been operating prior to having even applied for an application and while receiving letters of violation for unpermitted development.
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|Malibu Coast Estate / Crummer Trust Property|| This application, by the City of Malibu, was a project-driven Local Coastal Plan amendment for a zoning change from visitor serving use to non-visitor serving for a parcel located at the terminus of Malibu Canyon Drive and next to Bluffs Park.
The zoning change would allow the parcel, which the applicant was referring to now as ‘Malibu Coast Estates’, and would allow for the construction of up to 8 mansions on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Malibu is known for discouraging visitor serving uses within the City, so the loss of any parcel, especially one as extraordinary as this one, is significant and adverse.
In an effort to overcome any potential concerns by Commissioners and staff, the applicant offered to pay an in-lieu fee of $2 million that has been in the previous application, directed to the Topanga State Park motel restoration, but was changed to be directed to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) as a means of ‘mitigating’ the loss of visitor serving opportunity. The funds are to be used to develop low-cost visitor serving overnight accommodations at MRCA’s Cameron Nature Preserve in Puerco Canyon.
|San Diego Unified Port District Port Master Plan Amendment|| This application for the Port of San Diego’s Port Master Plan Amendment (PMPA) would revise the current plan which allows for one single, high quality hotel to allow for the development of up to three separate hotels with a combined total of 500 rooms. The amendment would allow for development of a broader area of East Harbor Island and include road and traffic circle realignment. One of the 3 proposed hotels, to be developed by Sunroad Marina Partners, would be a 175-room limited service hotel with meeting and fitness space, pool, common areas, and parking.
What the amendment does not include is provision of lower cost accommodations.
While language in the PMPA attempts to address the issue by stating that 82 rooms of the proposed 500 will be midscale or economy, this does not adequately support lower cost accommodations—especially when considering the land is public trust tidelands.
|South Kellogg Recycling Facility|| This CDP application was for an unpermitted concrete/asphalt recycling facility. As stated in the Commission Staff report, the facility began operating in 2010 but had not filed for a permit till December 2011. Commission Staff observed unpermitted development during an onsite visit in August 2013 with letters of violation sent to the applicant and property owner in October 2013, January 2014, August 2014, September 2014, and February 2015. Operations continued during this time, also while the permit application process was still underway. Commission Staff evaluated the riparian habitat bordering the property and found that it qualified as Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area.
As stated in the staff report, “…[It] is important that these kinds of facilities be sited appropriately in order to ensure that the environmental benefits of recycling do not come at the expense of coastal resources…[The] industrial use faces significant constraints from the nearby drainages and riparian ESHA.” Following an extensive debate about ESHA, and how the facility has been operating without permits, the Commission proceeded with the vote.