|Description||December’s Coastal Commission hearing covered a range of important topics including coastal access, recreational resources, and the application of recently vested power to levy administrative fines for Coastal Act violations. Most notably, Commissioners voted to levy administrative fines for an egregious and ongoing access violation in Malibu to the tune of $4.2 millio|
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|City of Dana Point LCP Amendment - Strands Beach|| 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.
|Civil Penalty Administration - the Lents|| A private residence immediately adjacent to Malibu Beach and with private beach access was issued a Cease and Desist Order and Administrative Civil Penalty due to a failure to comply with the CDP requirement to provide a public accessway through their property. The access point at issue sits in the middle of an approximate three-mile stretch of coastline across several Malibu beaches with no public access: the nearest currently open access is at Carbon Beach, 1.7 miles away.
Since 2002, the Lents have continued to maintain a private stairway, fence and gate, and deck that were constructed directly within the vertical public access easement and impedes the construction of a public accessway since they purchased the Property in 2002, and have knowingly refused to remove the development and resolve these Coastal Act violations since Commission staff notified them of the violations in 2007. The Lents have maintained the unpermitted development encroaching into the public easement and resisted all requests for the removal of those encroachments. Without this access point, Las Flores Beach is essentially privatized.
This is the Lents’ additional owned property, not primary residence, and has been used since at least 2002 as a temporary vacation rental and advertised on VRBO.com since at least 2007 and other websites for an average nightly rate of $1018 and up to $9,200 a week and $32,000 per month. They highlight beach access for visitors as one of the features of the home in their rental announcements. All the while they have knowingly maintained these private encroachments and used them for personal private beach access and financial gain.
|San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project|| The San Elijo Lagoon is located within the San Elijo Ecological Reserve in the southernmost part of the City of Encinitas. Due to historic impacts on the lagoon from surrounding development, the lagoon is degraded and remains in a state of continued decline. The applicant proposes to restore 960 acres of the San Elijo Lagoon by re-contouring lagoon elevations and configuring channels to achieve the desired improvements to water quality, water circulation and habitat mix. Staff recommends a variety of special conditions to protect from adverse impacts.
The proposed project is expected to significantly improve the circulation of the lagoon, water quality and the long-term biological productivity of coastal waters. It also takes sea level rise into account and is expected to decrease the number of flooding events on Manchester Ave.
ActCoastal partner Surfrider Foundation spoke in support of the project with two important dissents: 1.) The quantities and locations of material placement at beaches and offshore borrow sites was of concern, and 2.) regarding Special condition 9, the duration of surf monitoring should be extended.